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U.S. Rep. Jennifer Wexton Announces Decision Not to Seek Reelection


FALLS CHURCH, Va. — U.S. Representative Jennifer Wexton, a Democrat representing the northern Virginia suburbs of Washington, has announced that she will not seek reelection in her competitive district. This decision comes after she received a modified diagnosis of progressive supra-nuclear palsy (PSP), a severe form of Parkinson’s disease.

In April, Wexton revealed that she had been diagnosed with Parkinson’s but intended to continue her work in Congress. However, she now discloses that her condition has progressed to PSP, which she describes as “a kind of ‘Parkinson’s on steroids.”

“I want to be transparent with you now – this new diagnosis is challenging,” Wexton shared in her statement. “There is no ‘getting better’ with PSP. Although I will continue exploring treatment options to manage my symptoms, their effectiveness is limited.”

Wexton arrived at the new diagnosis after noticing that her response to treatment was inadequate, and she observed contrasting experiences among the women in her Parkinson’s support group.

Despite her health challenges, Wexton plans to fulfill the remainder of her term, which extends until 2024. Expressing her sadness over leaving a role that she has cherished for many years, she remains devoted to serving her community.

With Wexton not seeking reelection, an open seat will be up for grabs in her district. During the last redistricting process, the area slightly tilted toward a conservative standpoint, according to an analysis by the nonpartisan Virginia Public Access Project. Consequently, the upcoming race for this open seat could have significant implications for party control of the U.S. House in 2024.

Prior to her congressional tenure, Wexton served as a prosecutor and state legislator. In 2018, she secured her place in Congress by defeating Republican Representative Barbara Comstock with 56% of the vote. Wexton’s popularity continued in 2022 as she won reelection with 53% of the vote.

Virginia’s 10th Congressional District: A Battleground for Democrats


Virginia’s 10th Congressional District, represented by Congresswoman Jennifer Wexton, is located in Loudoun County, an outer suburb of the nation’s capital. While the county leans slightly Democratic, it has a history of switching support between political parties. Recently, education issues have ignited controversies in Loudoun County, ranging from school closures and in-person learning during the pandemic to debates surrounding the treatment of transgender students and library books.

The Potential Loss of Incumbents

With Wexton’s announcement, Virginia Democrats may be facing the loss of incumbents in their most fiercely contested districts. Speculation is rife that Abigail Spanberger, who represents the 7th District between Washington and Richmond, will not seek reelection next year and instead run for governor in 2025. Spanberger, like Wexton, was elected in 2018 and has consistently won by narrow margins, typically securing anywhere from 50% to 52% of the vote.

Understanding Parkinson’s Disease and Progressive Supranuclear Palsy

Parkinson’s disease is a neurological disorder characterized by involuntary and uncontrollable movements, such as shaking, stiffness, and difficulties with balance and coordination. The symptoms and progression rate vary from person to person. The National Institute on Aging notes that early signs of this disease are subtle and develop gradually.

Progressive supranuclear palsy, on the other hand, is categorized as an atypical parkinsonian syndrome or a Parkinson-plus disorder, according to the National Institutes of Health.

Reactions to Wexton’s Announcement

Upon hearing the news, Wexton’s colleagues expressed their sadness and offered words of support. Don Beyer, a fellow Northern Virginia House Democrat, conveyed his sentiments in a statement: “When Jennifer joined the House five years ago, her future seemed limitless. Now, she has been robbed of much of that future due to tragic and deeply unfair medical news.”

Susan Swecker, the chairwoman of the state party, acknowledged Wexton’s dedicated public service and steadfast advocacy for LGBTQ civil rights, gun safety reform, labor rights, and affordable healthcare. According to Swecker, Wexton’s efforts have undoubtedly improved the lives of all Virginians.

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