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What Virginia Rep. Donald McEachin's death means for the new Congress

With the death of Virginia Democratic Rep. Donald McEachin, the new Congress will begin with a vacancy until there is a special election to fill that seat. 

A reminder: You cannot be appointed to the House. 

McEachin’s untimely death does not give some breathing room to House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., in his quest to become Speaker. The new Congress will begin with 434 members. The magic number for McCarthy continues to be 218 – an outright majority of the entire body. 

Democratic U.S. Rep. Donald McEachin passed away on Monday following a battle with colorectal cancer.

Democratic U.S. Rep. Donald McEachin passed away on Monday following a battle with colorectal cancer.

McEachin becomes the 7th member elected to the 117th Congress to die. 

VIRGINIA DEMOCRATIC REP. DONALD MCEACHIN DEAD AT 61 AFTER BATTLE WITH COLORECTAL CANCER

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Rep.-elect Luke Letlow, R-La., died before taking office in late 2020, just after the election. 

The following members have also died: 

Late. Reps. Ron Wright, R-Texas, Alcee Hastings, D-Fla., Jim Hagedorn, R-Minn., Don Young, R-Alaska, Jackie Walorski, R-Ind., and McEachin. 

McEachin’s untimely death does not give some breathing room to House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy in his quest to become Speaker.

McEachin’s untimely death does not give some breathing room to House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy in his quest to become Speaker.
(REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst)

Congressman McEachin died Monday at the age of 61 following a battle with colorectal cancer.

McEachin was first elected to Congress in 2016, serving Virginia’s 4th District. He was re-elected to the House for a fourth term earlier this month.

The congressman’s chief of staff, Tara Rountree, released a statement Monday night announcing McEachin’s passing.

McEachin becomes the 7th member elected to the 117th Congress to die.

McEachin becomes the 7th member elected to the 117th Congress to die.
(AP Photo/Patrick Semansky, File)

“We are all devastated at the passing of our boss and friend, Congressman Donald McEachin,” Rountree wrote. “Valiantly, for years now, we have watched him fight and triumph over the secondary effects of his colorectal cancer from 2013. Tonight, he lost that battle, and the people of Virginia’s Fourth Congressional District lost a hero who always, always fought for them and put them first.”

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The statement continued: “Until a new representative is elected, our office will remain open and continue to serve our constituents. The family asks for privacy at this time. Arrangements will be announced over the next few days.”

McEachin was the third-ever African American to represent Virginia in the U.S. House.

Fox News’ Landon Mion contributed to this report.

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