Lee J. Carter

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Lee J. Carter
Lee Jin Carter at volunteer appreciation event (cropped).jpg
Member of the Virginia House of Delegates
from the 50th district
Assumed office
January 10, 2018
Preceded byJackson Miller
Personal details
Born (1987-06-02) June 2, 1987 (age 32)
Elizabeth City, North Carolina
Political partyDemocratic
Other political
Democratic Socialists of America
ResidenceManassas, Virginia
OccupationIT specialist
CommitteesManassas City Democratic Committee
Military service
Allegiance United States
Branch/service United States Marine Corps
Years of service2006–2011

Lee Jin Carter (born June 2, 1987) is an American politician who has represented the 50th district in the Virginia House of Delegates since 2018. He defeated Jackson Miller, the Republican House Majority Whip, to win the seat. Born in North Carolina, Carter is a member of the Democratic Party, an IT specialist, and a former Marine. He was endorsed by the Democratic Socialists of America (DSA), of which he is a member.

Early life and military career[edit]

Carter was born June 2, 1987, in Elizabeth City, North Carolina.[1][2] He was a member of the United States Marine Corps (USMC) from 2006 to 2011, having attended the USMC Staff Noncommissioned Officer Academy. He also worked as an IT specialist before running for office.[3]

2017 campaign[edit]

Carter was inspired to run for office after receiving a shock while repairing a lighting system in the summer of 2015 and subsequently struggling to receive worker's compensation from Virginia while unable to work. Before choosing to run, he had long identified as "to the left of where the Democratic party [is]" but was further inspired by Bernie Sanders to explore democratic socialism.[4]

Carter ran for the Virginia House of Delegates for the 50th district. He was endorsed by the Democratic Socialists of America (DSA), of which he is a member.[4] His campaign mostly focused on issues such as single-payer healthcare and financial contributions to politicians. Jackson Miller, the incumbent Republican, distributed a mailer campaign that compared Carter to Communist rulers Vladimir Lenin, Joseph Stalin and Mao Zedong,[4][5][6] an act the Democratic Party of Virginia condemned as fearmongering.[6] Miller called Carter an "anti-jobs candidate" and said his "ideas are so out of the mainstream, and so incredibly expensive."[7] On November 7, 2017, Carter won the race by nine percentage points.[8] He was one of 15 DSA members elected in 2017.[9]

2019 campaign[edit]

Carter is running for reelection in the 2019 election, having defeated his primary opponent, Mark Wolfe, a Manassas city councilman, with 58% of the vote.[10]

In the general election, Carter faces Republican Ian Lovejoy, another Manassas city councilman.

In office[edit]

Since taking office, Carter has been an outspoken advocate for workers' rights.[11] In December 2018 he introduced House Bill 1806, which would overturn Virginia's 70-year-old right-to-work law.[12] Of the bill, Carter said, "When workers form a union, everyone in the workplace benefits from higher wages and better conditions [...] Taft–Hartley was created specifically to allow some people to stand opposed to their coworkers' union while still reaping the rewards for free. It was intentionally designed to bankrupt unions, and I'm fighting to end it."[13] While none of his bills has passed to date, he continues to seek to decrease the corporate influence in his state and to increase organized labor power.[14]

During Carter's remarks on a tax bill, fellow Democratic Delegate Mark Keam surreptitiously briefly displayed the hammer and sickle on a laptop behind Carter, an action for which he later apologized;[15][16][17][18] Keam also apologized for violating Rule 57 in regard to the legislative body's decorum ("No member shall in debate use any language or gesture calculated to wound, offend, or insult another member").[19] Carter dismissed the affair as "clearly [...] a joke, but [...] in very poor taste and rooted in a lack of knowledge about the history of the political left."[16]

Electoral history[edit]

Date Election Candidate Party Votes %
Virginia House of Delegates, 50th district
Nov 7, 2017[20] General Lee J. Carter Democratic 11,366 54.32
Jackson H. Miller Republican 9,518 45.49
June 11, 2019[21] Primary Lee J. Carter Democratic 1,441 57.73
Mark Wolfe Democratic 1,055 42.27

Personal life[edit]

Carter has been married and divorced three times. He has a daughter with his second wife.[22] According to Carter, his third wife physically and emotionally abused him, which resulted in police involvement and an emergency protective order. He has alluded to being abused and raped earlier in his life as well, but without elaborating.[1] In October 2018, in order to get ahead of any potential attempts at "personal smears,"[22] Carter has admitted making "homophobic, trans-phobic, sometimes sexist or racially insensitive" comments online as a teenager.[22]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b Carter, Lee (9 May 2019). "Why I didn't report my abuser… until I did". Retrieved 23 May 2019.
  2. ^ https://publications.virginiageneralassembly.gov/download_publication/218
  3. ^ "Virginia House of Delegates Member Listings". virginiageneralassembly.gov. Retrieved 23 May 2019.
  4. ^ a b c Vyse, Graham (8 November 2017). "How a Socialist Beat One of Virginia's Most Powerful Republicans". The New Republic. Retrieved 10 November 2017.
  5. ^ "Democratic Socialist candidate Lee Carter wins an unlikely victory in Virginia". Mic. 2017-11-07. Retrieved 2017-11-10.
  6. ^ a b Wilson, Patrick (2 November 2017). "GOP delegate Miller's mailer compares Democratic opponent to Stalin, communists". Richmond Times-Dispatch. Retrieved 10 November 2017.
  7. ^ Koma, Alex (25 October 2017). "Miller turns to holding off Carter's challenge in 50th District". InsideNoVa. Retrieved 10 November 2017.
  8. ^ Day, Meagan (10 November 2017). "Meet Lee Carter". Jacobin. Retrieved 10 November 2017.
  9. ^ Goldberg, Michelle (10 November 2017). "Revenge of the Obama Coalition". The New York Times. Retrieved 10 November 2017.
  10. ^ https://www.princewilliamtimes.com/news/updated-del-lee-carter-fends-off-challenge-from-manassas-city/article_82fe235e-8ca8-11e9-bcbb-7b1bea1c685c.html
  11. ^ Nichols, John (January 7, 2019). "Lee Carter's Campaign for Labor Rights in Virginia Is Important for All Working Americans". The Nation. Retrieved February 3, 2019.
  12. ^ "Lawmaker Files Bill to Repeal Virginia's Right to Work Law". The Republican Standard. December 30, 2018. Retrieved January 5, 2019.
  13. ^ "Lee J. Carter on Twitter: "When workers form a union, everyone in the workplace benefits from higher wages and better conditions. But ever since 1947, Virginia has allowed some to freeload off of their coworkers' hard-won union without paying dues. I've filed HB1806 to end this 70+ year injustice."". Twitter. December 30, 2018. Retrieved January 5, 2019.
  14. ^ Stockman, Farah (2019-01-17). "How One Socialist Lawmaker Is Trying to Change His State's Pro-Business Policies". New York Times. Retrieved 2019-01-16.
  15. ^ Palermo, Jill. "Fairfax delegate apologizes to fellow Democratic Del. Lee Carter for hammer-and-sickle joke". Prince William Times. Retrieved 2 May 2019.
  16. ^ a b Moomaw, Graham (February 26, 2018). "Democratic lawmaker in Virginia holds hammer-and-sickle image behind colleague aligned with Democratic Socialists". Richmond Times-Dispatch. Retrieved February 27, 2018.
  17. ^ "Democratic lawmaker holds hammer-and-sickle behind colleague". WVEC. Retrieved 2 May 2019.
  18. ^ Del. Mark L. Keam [@MarkKeam] (2017-02-26). "This morning in @VaHouse Finance Committee meeting, my colleague @carterforva and I debated a tax bill. We hold divergent views on these policy issues, so I made a light-hearted visual joke about our differences. I apologize to Del. Carter for going overboard with my stupid joke" (Tweet) – via Twitter.
  19. ^ Bryan, Alix (2018-02-26). "Democrat delegate apologizes after he mocks peer with Communist image". WTVR.com. Retrieved 2018-02-27.
  20. ^ "Elections: House of Delegates District 50". www.vpap.org. Retrieved 2019-06-22.
  21. ^ "Virginia Election Results: June 12, 2018". The Virginia Public Access Project. Retrieved 2019-06-22.
  22. ^ a b c "A Virginia politician's novel approach to personal scandal: Tell all before opponents do". Washington Post.

External links[edit]