Cameron Webb decisively won a four-way Democratic primary in Virginia on Tuesday, setting up a potentially competitive race in the state’s Fifth Congressional District, where the Republican incumbent was recently ousted in a drive-through convention.
If he wins in the Republican-leaning district in November, Dr. Webb, 37, will become the first black physician to serve as a voting member of Congress. With 100 percent of precincts reporting late Tuesday night, he had amassed two-thirds of the vote.
Among the candidates he beat out was Claire Russo, a combat veteran who finished second in the primary and had released a poignant advertisement in which she spoke candidly about her experience being sexually assaulted by a Marine Corps superior.
“This is one of those moments where Virginia is standing up and speaking out, and we’re ready to go in a different direction — one focused on unity, inclusion and making sure everyone has opportunities to succeed,” Dr. Webb said in a telephone interview late Tuesday night.
It was also not lost on Dr. Webb that life has in recent months been upended by a pair of crises with which he is personally familiar: a viral pandemic and nationwide unrest over police brutality, systemic racism and inequality.
“You can’t pick your moments,” he said. “I’m glad to be in a spot where I can do some good.”
Dr. Webb’s victory sets up a general-election contest with Bob Good, a Republican who toppled the incumbent, Representative Denver Riggleman, in a highly unusual and bitterly contested drive-through convention earlier this month.
Mr. Riggleman, a freshman Republican, had come under a torrent of criticism from conservative activists in the district after he officiated the same-sex wedding of two of his former campaign volunteers.
Mr. Good, a former athletics official at Jerry Falwell Jr.’s Liberty University who describes himself as a “biblical conservative,” condemned the move, casting it as a betrayal of voters’ trust. He subsequently defeated Mr. Riggleman, capturing about 58 percent of the vote in a convention decided by party delegates. Mr. Riggleman denounced the convention as having been weighted to favor Mr. Good.
Democrats have long considered the Fifth District seat to be potentially competitive and had hoped that Mr. Good would prevail against Mr. Riggleman, in part because he has struggled to raise funds. In addition, Mr. Good failed to correctly file the paperwork required to be on the November ballot, which could create future headaches for the state Republican Party as the fall nears.
The district, which runs from the North Carolina border to the outer reaches of the Northern Virginia suburbs, was last won by a Democrat in 2008. President Trump won the district by 11 points in 2016.
Dr. Webb, who grew up in Spotsylvania, Va., and whose wife is also a doctor, challenged the notion that the district was too red for him to win, arguing that it was full of residents whose views “span the entire political spectrum.”
“I’m here to listen to people,” he said. “As a doctor, that’s a skill I use every day. You ask them where it hurts, and they tell me.”