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Democrat Jennifer Carroll Foy won her June primary by just 12 votes; now, she’s headed to Richmond.
Foy, a public defender in Arlington County, is the new delegate for Virginia’s 2nd District, beating Republican Mike Makee 62 percent to 37 percent, with 95 percent of precincts reporting. The district, which covers parts of eastern Prince William County and northern Stafford County, was left open after Republican Del. Mark Dudenhefer retired to run for supervisor in Stafford.
“There needs to be a counterbalance to the Trump politics happening right now, not only in D.C., but also in Richmond,” Foy said in an interview before the election. “I know what it means to be the people’s champion.”
The race was a tumultuous one — not only was Foy’s primary contest with Josh King close enough to merit a recount, but Republican Laquan Austion bowed out of the race in August following revelations that he misrepresented his academic credentials on his online resume. Makee, an officer with the Stafford County Republican Party, announced his candidacy immediately afterward.
The shuffle put Makee at a decided financial disadvantage in the race, as he was only able to raise about $228,000 to Foy’s $513,000. Even then, the bulk of his cash came courtesy of Republican leaders in the House of Delegates, like outgoing Speaker Bill Howell of Stafford County.
Foy now becomes the only public defender to serve in the General Assembly, and one of just 19 African-Americans elected to the legislature as well.
She plans to continue serving in her current role when lawmakers aren’t session in Richmond, and she’s particularly interested in using that experience in the criminal justice system to fight for a series of reforms designed to help low-income people and people of color.
“There’s only prosecutors at the table right now, so to have real criminal justice reform, you have to have criminal defense attorneys down there, and public defenders down there,” Foy said.
The 2nd District has proved to be one of the most volatile in the state since lawmakers last redrew district lines in 2011 — over the last four election cycles, its voters have twice alternated between Republicans and Democrats for the seat.

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