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Del. Candi King fends off Clean Virginia-backed primary challenger in 2nd District

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Candi King talks with voters

Del. Candi King, D-2nd, and Speaker of the House Del. Eileen Filler-Corn, D-41st, speak with voters at Leesylvania Elementary School in Dumfries, Virginia on Tuesday, June 8. 

Del. Candi King has apparently beat back a primary challenge in one of Virginia’s most expensive House primaries, with both candidates combining to raise nearly $1 million in the run-up to Tuesday’s election.  

With all but absentee ballots reported, King, D-2nd, has beat challenger Pam Montgomery with 2,959 votes, or about 68.42% of the ballots counted so far, to Montgomery's 1,366 votes, or 31.58%, according to still unofficial results from the Virginia Department of Elections.

King said in an interview Tuesday afternoon that a victory in the primary, “would signal that the community has really been paying attention to the Democratic majority and what we’ve been able to accomplish in such a short amount of time.” 

“We’ve heard nothing but positive feedback from the community. A victory today would speak to the fact that people in this community are very informed voters. They know what’s fact and what’s fiction. They know my record. And they trust that I’ll put this community first,” King said.  

King, 38, was first elected in a special election on Jan. 5 to fill the 2nd District seat vacated by former state delegate Jennifer Carroll Foy, who resigned the seat in December to focus on her run for Virginia Governor. King will face Republican Gina Ciarcia in the November general election.  

Montgomery, 64, was backed by Clean Virginia, an organization run by hedge fund millionaire Michael Bills who financially supports candidates who refuse to accept donations from Dominion Energy – Virginia’s largest regulated utility.  

King refused to decline contributions from Dominion Energy and accepted a $5,000 donation from the company during her special election race in January. Clean Virginia responded by pouring nearly $150,000 into Montgomery’s campaign. Bills’ wife Sonjia Smith contributed $379,000 to Montgomery’s campaign. And Commonwealth Forward, a political action committee funded almost entirely by Clean Virginia, added another $180,000.  

In total, Montgomery raised $639,000 and King raised $280,000 between January 1 and June 8, according to the Virginia Public Access Project, or VPAP.  

King called Clean Virginia’s involvement in the race “very disappointing” and “a distraction” for 2nd District voters.  

“I’ll just say this: $600,000 has been sent to run a majority negative campaign targeted at me with false accusations, with things that have been very alarming and untrue. And we are hearing from folks that they reject that idea,” King said. “... You can’t buy your way through an election with false accusations.”

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