RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — A special election to fill a vacant Virginia House of Delegates seat based in Fairfax County has been set. This comes after the Democratic lawmaker who represented the district stepped down to take a job in the Biden administration.

Mark Keam, an attorney who was first elected in 2009, resigned his Virginia House seat for a U.S. Department of Commerce position, telling constituents in an email he decided to continue his public service “in another capacity.”

Virginia House Speaker Todd Gilbert (R-Shenandoah) set a special election to fill Keam’s seat for Jan. 10, 2023, the day before the General Assembly convenes for its regular session.

“This date not only gives the voters of the district an adequate opportunity to examine the candidates, but also ensures that the 35th District will have a voice in the 2023 Regular Session,” Gilbert said in a statement. “Every Virginian has a right to have their voice heard in Richmond.”

Democrats have won every election for Virginia’s 35th House District since 2003 and Keam won his re-election bid last year with nearly 69% of the vote. No matter the outcome of the special election, Virginia House Republicans’ 52-48 majority won’t be impacted.

The Democratic stronghold is made up of a portion of Fairfax County that includes the town of Vienna and Tysons Corner. The district will shift slightly for next year’s state Senate elections due to redistricting but is expected to remain a blue-leaning seat.

Keam was the first Korean American and first Asian-born immigrant to be elected to any state-level office. Candidates seeking to fill Keam’s seat have until Nov. 14 to file to run but two Democrats — Karl Frisch and Holly Seibold — have already announced their bids.

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