Hurst unseated a three-time GOP incumbent backed by the NRA
A first-time candidate in rural Virginia running on a platform that included gun-related violence prevention defeated the National Rifle Association-backed GOP candidate in a state house race yesterday. Two years ago, his girlfriend was shot and killed on air as she was reporting live for a local news channel.
Democrat Chris Hurst won the 12th District of Virginia’s House of Delegates, defeating three-time incumbent Joseph Yost who was given an A rating by the NRA , winning 54 percent of the votes. The 30-year-old former news anchor joined the race to honor his late girlfriend.
Chris Hurst was a local news reporter in Virginia. So was his girlfriend Allison Parker until the fateful day when she was shot dead on live TV. He used that unfortunate moment to run for for a delegate seat in Virginia. Today, he won. What a story. pic.twitter.com/C6T2lkbU5E
— #TheIDKShow live at 1pm Facebook.com/Circa (@JMKTV) November 8, 2017
In August, 2015, Hurst’s girlfriend, Alison Parker, was doing a live interview for WDBJ-TV in Roanoke, Virginia, when she was shot and killed by a disgruntled former reporter. Her cameraman, Adam Ward, was also killed. Parker, who began dating Hurst when they met at the station, was just 24 years old.
Hurst left his job at the station, saying on Twitter, “She was the most radiant woman I ever met. And for some reason she loved me back. She loved her family, her parents and her brother.”
She was the most radiant woman I ever met. And for some reason she loved me back. She loved her family, her parents and her brother.— Your Delegate Chris Hurst (@ChrisHurstVA) August 26, 2015
He also shared they had recently moved in together and were planning to get married.
Hurst announced his candidacy in an op-ed for the Daily Beast. “Going into the newsroom each day began to numb me to the humanity on which I was supposed to be reporting,” he wrote. “Even as I connected with people in a new, profound way on TV, I was becoming a shell. The man Alison loved began to fray at the edges. That man is being made whole now with my dedication to the service of the people who supported me during my sorrow.”
Hurst’s platform supports stricter safety measures for gun owners but also includes the expansion of Medicaid and increased school funding.
“We can seize on this opportunity to expand Medicaid in the Commonwealth so that everybody who is working but living in poverty can have access to health insurance,” Hurst told a crowd of supporters. “We can go big on education to make sure our teachers are supported in the Commonwealth.”
Thousands reacted to the news on Twitter:
Remember the local TV correspondent fatally shot on air? Her boyfriend decided to run for office in honor of her memory, and won an upset. https://t.co/9Hwmgj2SCE
— Alec MacGillis (@AlecMacGillis) November 8, 2017
BREAKING: Chris Hurst (D) has unseated Del. Joseph Yost (R) in Blacksburg's #HD12. Dem pickup. Brings Dems to +12, need 5 more for control.
— Dave Wasserman (@Redistrict) November 8, 2017
Chris Hurst was the boyfriend of Alison Parker, the reporter who was shot and killed live on air in 2015. His opponent was NRA-endorsed. https://t.co/sVexLJ4IUQ
— shauna (@goldengateblond) November 8, 2017
Chris Hurst winning in Blacksburg after losing Allison two years ago is such a massively profound statement of hope.
— Jason Krech (@JasonKrech) November 8, 2017
Chris Hurst is the first glimmer of hope in the fight for gun regulation. We don't have to live this violently.
— Lauren Duca (@laurenduca) November 8, 2017
Hurst went on to say, “We are going to stand up to bigotry and intolerance, we are going to speak out against injustice, and we are going to fight for the most vulnerable among us.”
The Roanoke Times called his win over the longtime incumbent “long odds” and “one of the state’s most contentious and expensive House races.”