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Political newcomer Michelle Maldonado ousts Del. Lee Carter in 50th District primary

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Michelle Maldonado

Michelle Maldonado

Del. Lee Carter, Virginia’s only socialist lawmaker, lost two primary races Tuesday evening: one for the Democratic nomination for Virginia governor and the other for re-election in the 50th House of Delegates seat. 

Political newcomer Michelle Maldonado, of Bristow, defeated Carter in the 50th House of Delegates district by more than 5 points, garnering 1,548 to Carter's 1,348 votes, according to still unofficial results from the Virginia Department of Elections.

Helen Zurita garnered 617 votes or 17.56% of the ballots cast.

The primary election brought to an end to Carter's nearly four-year run as state delegate.

Maldonado, 52is a small business owner and former attorney. She has never run for political office. Maldonado will face Republican Steve Pleickhardt, of Bristow, in the November general election.  

Carter, 34, was first elected to the seat in 2017 and re-elected in 2019. He has been a political lightning rod, drawing harsh criticism from many local and state Republican elected officials for his political stances, and even from some elected officials in the Democratic party.  

He faced Democratic primary challenges in both 2019 and 2021. 

Former Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe was winning the governor’s race with 62% of the vote as of about 9:30 p.m. Tuesday night. Former delegate Jennifer Carroll Foy had received 20.15% of the vote; state Sen. Jennifer McClellan had received 11.23% of the vote; while Lt. Gov. Justin Fairfax had received 3.53%, according to the department of elections.

Carter received less than 3%of the vote in the gubernatorial primary, coming in fifth place out of the five candidates. 

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