Lavern Chatman was one of nearly a dozen candidates to compete in a Saturday night straw poll to replace retiring Rep. Jim Moran (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)
Hundreds of Northern Virginia Democrats packed into a Volvo dealership outside of Washington, D.C., Saturday night to celebrate the career of longtime Rep. James P. Moran and begin the process of replacing him.
Since Moran’s January announcement that he wouldn’t seek a 13th term, at least 11 Democrats have thrown their hats into the ring. Nearly all of them appeared at the Saturday event to rub elbows with potential supporters and stake their claim to the safe Democratic seat.
Former Lt. Gov. Don Beyer, who hosted the festivities at his dealership in Alexandria, won the night’s straw poll decisively with 25 percent of the vote. Community activist Lavern Chatman and state Del. Patrick Hope took second and third place.
The straw poll was held as part of an annual Mardis Gras celebration to raise money for the Mount Vernon District Democratic Committee. Nearly 500 people attended the event, where tickets cost $45 and up, depending on the sponsorship level.
Moran, the guest of honor, donned Mardis Gras beads and greeted attendees with a beer in hand. He predicted that the winner of the June 10 Democratic primary will likely win by the same margin Beyer did on Saturday.
“I think that anybody that gets 25 percent of the vote will win. It’ll be a plurality,” Moran told CQ Roll Call. Full story