PORTSMOUTH, Va. (WAVY) — Tuesday night proved to be emotional for some candidates as they ousted Virginia House of Delegates incumbents in the primary elections.
One of those races was in the 79th District.
Challenger Nadarius Clark took the Democratic nomination for the House of Delegates 79th District — which covers parts of Portsmouth, Chesapeake and Norfolk — Tuesday night with 45.7% of the vote, or 2,032 votes.
The incumbent, Del. Steve Heretick, received 42.4% of the vote, with 1,883 ballots cast for him. Heretick has represented the district since 2016.
The 79th District seat has for years gone uncontested, however, this year’s primary race surpassed $1 million in fundraising between Heretick, Clark and third candidate Dante Walston.
Clark, a first-time political candidate, raised more than $500,000.
An emotional Clark showed up at his campaign party at Roger Brown’s Restaurant and Bar in Portsmouth filled with joy and tears on his cheeks Tuesday night after unofficial election results came in. 10 On Your Side was there to speak with him.
“20,000 doors we knocked on. This is truly so remarkable. I am so happy I was able to do this. I was able to show Virginia that we needed new representation,” he said.
The emotion for Clark came after incumbent Heretick conceded the race, which 10 On Your Side was also present to see.
“I want to congratulate Nadarius Clark for a good race. He certainly ran well today. I think it was one of those days that turned out differently than the way we wanted it to go,” Heretick said.
Clark’s emotion continued as he looked back on the past months.
“It’s been a long six months of day in and day out knocking on doors, making calls. It’s so emotional. I didn’t think this would happen. People like me don’t always get this opportunity to represent their community,” Clark said.
Clark’s election night crowd was loud, joyous, and fulfilled. It was a night of winning.
But in the end, it all goes back to the emotion of a young candidate on the night he won. A feeling he will never forget.
“For us, to show a young 26-year-old can make a difference in their community. That we can be the change they want to see in their community, we showed that tonight. I am happy I had the opportunity to do it,” he said.
It’s not over for Clark. He still has to win in November, but for Tuesday night after this victory, he was able to bask in the glory.