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McEachin, Benjamin Debate in 4th District Race

Virginia’s 4th Congressional District stretches from Richmond south and east to Chesapeake.

Incumbent Congressman Donald McEachin squared off Tuesday night with challenger Leon Benjamin.

The 4th District includes Richmond City, where residents protested on an almost nightly basis this summer over police brutality. 

Republican Leon Benjamin, a pastor and navy vet, called for more officers in the streets, not fewer.  “We have to restore and back our police," Benjamin said. "We have to stand with those in our community who have lived there for years but now they’re looking at moving and going somewhere safe.”

Democrat Donald McEachin is a lawyer who’s represented Virginia in Congress since 2017. He says he understands why people took to the streets and that he supports banning chokeholds and no knock warrants.  “Most police officers are good officers, but for the bad ones we need to put in place these rules, these reforms. They’re necessary," McEachin said, "and that’s the reason people are out in the streets.”

One of the other big topics of the night was the pandemic. Benjamin said lockdowns may have gone too far and worries about the unintended financial and mental health consequences.

McEachin blamed the President for responding too slowly and not taking the virus seriously.

This report, provided by Virginia Public Radio, was made possible with support from the Virginia Education Association.

Mallory Noe-Payne is a Radio IQ reporter based in Richmond.