NORFOLK, Va. (WAVY) — Delegate Jay Jones, a Democrat from Norfolk who was just re-elected to his seat in the House of Delegates this November after a failed run in the primary for Virginia Attorney General, is stepping down at the end of this year.
It’s a surprise announcement for the 32-year-old from Norfolk, who’s seen as one of the young stars among Virginia’s Democrats. Jones shared the announcement in a letter on Thursday after the story was broken by the Virginia Scope. Just two days before, Jones shared that he and his wife were expecting a child this upcoming summer, and he said he wants to put “family first and be the best dad and the most supportive and present husband that I can possibly be.”
“As most parents can attest, bringing a child into this world is a massive time commitment and every second with your family and child is worth its weight in gold. I’m 32, a practicing attorney, and have given everything that I have in my soul to serving Norfolk and the Commonwealth since 2017. But my new job-to-be is as a father, and I’m ready to make that the highest priority in my life … I’ve long talked about our capacity to rise to meet the moment in front of us and I know in my heart that this is the right decision for me at this point in time,” wrote Jones.
Jones, who’s also an attorney, says he’s not completely stepping away from politics and suggested he might even run for attorney general again in 2025. Jones lost the 2021 Democratic primary to current Attorney General Mark Herring, 56.5% to 43.4%.
He says in the meantime he’ll continue to help Democrats get elected, including training candidates and fundraising, and an initiative he started to train women candidates and candidates of color just held its first training session last weekend.
Jones’ seat for the 89th District will have to be filled in an upcoming special election. The district leans heavily Democratic. Jones easily won this year’s election over Republican challenger Hahns Copeland with 80% of the vote.
Though Jones’ seat will likely be filled by a Democrat, his party lost control of the House of Delegates in the 2021 November elections. Republicans will have a 52-48 advantage when the 2022 General Assembly starts on January 12. Democrats still have a 21-19 majority in the Virginia Senate.
Republican Governor-elect Glenn Youngkin will be sworn in on Jan. 15.