The former-anchorman and boyfriend of a fellow TV news reporter who was killed during a live broadcast is running for a Virginia state House seat against a candidate backed by the National Rifle Association. Chris Hurst and Alison Parker lived together and worked together at Roanoke’s WDBJ-TV when she and her cameraman Adam Ward were gunned down by disgruntled co-worker Vester Lee Flanagan II, who used the professional pseudonym Bryce Williams, on August 26, 2015. As the Associated Press reports, Hurst is now challenging Delegate Joseph Yost, a Republican from the town of Pearisburg, to represent the 12th District in Virginia’s House of Delegates.
Hurst says he knew he had to make a change after covering a shooting at a rail car factory, using the same news van Parker had used on the day of her murder. After filming the segment, he broke down in tears. In January, he announced he was leaving WDBJ on-air, saying: “My life changed dramatically on August 26, 2015, when Alison Parker and Adam Ward were killed while reporting a story live on this station. It was forever altered because, as you know, Alison was more than just my colleague. We were in love and planning our future together.” He did not immediately reveal his intentions to run for office in that evening’s telecast, saying only, “I don’t know what my future holds. I only know that I’m being called to something greater.”
Since announcing his candidacy in February, Hurst has raised over $84,000, making him one of the top three fundraisers running for Virginia’s House of Delegates, according to the Roanoke Times. Invigorated by opposition to the Presidential election of Donald Trump, the Democratic Party is running candidates in many local elections, hoping to chip away at the Republican majority in Congress. Hurst, who is running as a Democrat, is opposing Joseph Yost, a 30-year-old incumbent who was endorsed by the National Rifle Association when he ran for office in 2011. Hurst is a gun owner himself, and while he says gun control isn’t his top priority, he advocates law enforcement being able to petition courts to have guns taken away from people they deem dangerous.
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