A former news anchor whose reporter girlfriend was gunned down on live TV two years ago has won a seat in Virginia’s House of Delegates.
Democrat Chris Hurst defeated a three-time incumbent on Tuesday to secure the 12th District seat in the Virginia House. His was one of several upset winners in Virginia by Democrats. The party enjoyed a wave of victories led by Democratic gubernatorial candidate Ralph Northam, who beat Republican Ed Gillespie in a race closely watched across the nation.
Hurst, 30, announced in a Daily Beast op-ed earlier this year that he had resigned from his job as an anchor for local television station WDBJ so that he could run for office. He said he planned to champion the causes he and the "love of his life," his late girlfriend, Alison Parker, valued most.
The two had moved in together shortly before Parker, a WDBJ reporter, was fatally shot during a live broadcast on Aug. 26, 2015, outside a tourist site in southwest Virginia. A disgruntled former employee at the news station attacked Parker during a morning interview, killing her and cameraman Adam Ward before later taking his own life.
Hurst spoke often about Parker’s murder while on the campaign trail but he did not make gun control the focus of his platform, even though he was endorsed by two gun violence prevention organizations, Everytown for Gun Safety and Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America.
Instead, he also focused on health care, the expansion of Medicaid, and increased funding for schools.
Hurst won his seat with 54 percent of the vote. Republican Joseph Yost, who was backed by the National Rifle Association, received 46 percent.
Parker's parents expressed excitement over the victory and pride in Hurst while attending his watch party Tuesday night.
“I'm thrilled," her father, Andy Parker, said in a speech. "I know that Alison is with us and she’s smiling."