Kenyan-born woman to vie for Virginia’s 4th district congressional seat

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The shuffling of more than a million voters caused by the redrawing of congressional district boundaries and the retirement of an incumbent lawmaker have led to a full slate of candidates in Hampton Roads federal elections this year.

The redrawn 4th Congressional District now has a fourth congressional candidate.

Jackee K. Gonzalez, a Kenyan-born, married Chesterfield County mother of two, has filed to run as a Republican in the upcoming June 14 primary with a view toward representing the party in the Nov. 8 general election.

Her website states as “core values” her “Faith in God,” and says she is “passionate about individual freedom and responsibility, elevating the dignity of work above enabling dysfunction,” and “passionate about the dignity of every human life.”

Gonzalez will face longtime Henrico County Sheriff Mike Wade for the GOP nomination in the district, which now includes parts of Chesapeake and Suffolk and extends west and north to include Richmond, Petersburg and parts of Chesterfield and Henrico.

Earlier this year, incumbent Rep. J. Randy Forbes, R-4th, decided not to seek re-election in the district following a court-ordered redistricting that altered its political landscape from the Republican-leaning Chesapeake area to Democratic-leaning Richmond and Petersburg.

Instead, Forbes is running in the Virginia Beach-centric 2nd U.S. House District, where Rep. Scott Rigell, R-2nd, has decided not to seek re-election.

Gonzalez was a community coordinator for Forbes in his 2012 re-election campaign. According to her candidate website, she has worked as grass-roots coordinator for The Family Foundation of Virginia, a socially conservative organization that lobbies the Virginia General Assembly on issues ranging from abortion to religious freedom.

The entry of Gonzalez into the race make her the third of the four candidates seeking the seat who do not currently reside in the district.

Both Wade and state Sen. A. Donald McEachin, D-Henrico, live in a part of Henrico not encompassed by the current 4th. McEachin, who lives less than 3 miles from the boundary, serves part of the new district as a state senator and said he will move into the district if elected.

The redrawn district, which splits Chesapeake, still encompasses the residence of City Councilwoman Ella Ward, who lost to Forbes as the 2014 Democratic nominee.

The district boundaries were redrawn after a federal court ruled that General Assembly lawmakers diluted black voter representation by concentrating them in the 3rd Congressional District currently held by Rep. Robert C. “Bobby” Scott, D-3rd, the lone African-American in the 11-member Virginia congressional delegation.