U.S. Rep. A. Donald McEachin, D-4th, cruised to re-election to his second term on Tuesday, despite an untimely physical infirmity and an unexpected campaign appearance by Vice President Mike Pence for his Republican opponent, Ryan McAdams.
“Thank you for rehiring me for another two years,” McEachin told a cheering crowd at the Westin Richmond hotel. He also predicted that “the American people are about to hand us the House of Representatives back.”
“We’ve got to govern responsibly,” he added. “We’ve got to govern wisely. We’ve got to make America proud the next two years.”
McEachin, 57, of South Richmond was elected in a district that federal courts redrew two years ago to correct what they had ruled to be racial gerrymandering that packed too many black voters into the neighboring 3rd District.
McAdams, 47, was a first-time candidate and evangelical pastor who said he was called by God to run for public office. He lives in the Providence Forge area of Charles City County and leads Agape Mission Church in Williamsburg.
McAdams conceded and congratulated McEachin. “It has been an honor to run this race, and I am proud of my team and all the amazing support I have received across the 4th District,” he said. “I am grateful to have had this opportunity to serve the people of the 4th, and I look forward to what the future may hold.”
The district stretches from Richmond and eastern Henrico County to Chesapeake and Southside localities along the North Carolina line. McEachin was elected to his first term two years ago, after incumbent Rep. Randy Forbes, a Chesapeake Republican, chose to run instead in the 2nd District and lost the Republican primary.
McEachin is a former personal injury lawyer who served in both the Virginia House of Delegates and Senate as a resident of Henrico County. He moved to South Richmond, near Huguenot Road, after taking office in January 2017.
Like McAdams, he is an ordained minister.
McEachin had surgery last month to correct an abnormal cavity between his colon and bladder called a fistula, which developed as the result of successful treatment of rectal cancer four years ago. A congressional physician confirmed the condition after McEachin acknowledged it last month because of questions about his weight loss of more than 60 pounds.
On Tuesday night, McEachin thanked the crowd for supporting him when he was ill. “I’m on the mend now,” he said.
House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., and Minority Whip Steny Hoyer, D-Md., appeared with McEachin in early October in issue-oriented roundtables in Richmond.
Pence surprised political leaders in both parties by appearing with McAdams at a public rally and private fundraising event in Richmond last month. He appeared separately with two other Republicans, Rep. Dave Brat in the 7th District and Denver Riggleman in the 5th District, but made clear he came to Richmond to support McAdams.
McAdams has ties to the Congressional Prayer Caucus in Washington, and was advised in the campaign by former Gov. Bob McDonnell and his sister, Maureen.