Jennifer Wexton diagnosed with ‘Parkinson on steroids,’ won’t run for re-election in 2024
Politics, U.S. & World

Jennifer Wexton diagnosed with ‘Parkinson on steroids,’ won’t run for re-election in 2024

Chris Graham

jennifer wextonCongresswoman Jennifer Wexton will not run for re-election in 2024, citing a recent health diagnosis of Atypical Parkinsonism.

Wexton, who was re-elected in Nothern Virginia’s 10th District by a 6.5-percent margin in last year’s midterms, has been receiving regular treatment for Parkinson’s for the past several months.

“When I shared with the world my diagnosis of Parkinson’s Disease a few months ago, I knew that the road ahead would have its challenges, and I’ve worked hard to navigate those challenges through consistent treatments and therapies. But I wasn’t making the progress to manage my symptoms that I had hoped, and I noticed the women in my Parkinson’s support group weren’t having the same experience that I was. I sought out additional medical opinions and testing, and my doctors modified my diagnosis to Progressive Supra-nuclear Palsy – a kind of ‘Parkinson’s on steroids,’” Wexton said in a statement on Monday.

“I’ve always believed that honesty is the most important value in public service, so I want to be honest with you now – this new diagnosis is a tough one. There is no ‘getting better’ with PSP. I’ll continue treatment options to manage my symptoms, but they don’t work as well with my condition as they do for Parkinson’s,” said Wexton, 55, who was first elected to the 10th District seat in 2018.

“I’m heartbroken to have to give up something I have loved after so many years of serving my community. But taking into consideration the prognosis for my health over the coming years, I have made the decision not to seek reelection once my term is complete and instead spend my valued time with Andrew, our boys, and my friends and loved ones,” Wexton said.

The 10th District had been a Republican seat until Wexton’s convincing 13-point upset win over incumbent Barbara Comstock in 2018.

Wexton won her first re-election in the COVID-influenced 2020 cycle by a 13-percent margin over Republican Aliscia Andrews.

The GOP nominee in 2022, Hung Cao, gave Wexton her closest run yet, with polls heading into Election Day suggesting the race could be close to toss-up status before she pulled away to the relatively safe 19,000-vote win.

Wexton’s exit from the 2024 race likely puts two U.S. House seats in Virginia currently held by Democrats into play. Abigail Spanberger, a Democrat who won her first election to the House in the Seventh District in 2018, is gearing up for a run for the Democratic Party gubernatorial nomination in the 2025 cycle, and is not expected to run for re-election to her House seat next year, though she has not spoken publicly on her plans in that regard.

The news with Wexton, then, will make it that much harder for Democrats to win back control of the U.S. House from Republicans, who now control the chamber by a slim 10-seat margin.

The health news for Wexton is just real life coming into play.

“When I made the decision to run for Congress, this was clearly not the way I anticipated it coming to a close — but then again, pretty much nothing about my time serving here has quite been typical or as expected,” said Wexton, who served a single term as a state senator from Northern Virginia before winning the 2018 U.S. House election. “I will forever cherish the people from our communities and all around the country I’ve come to know, the challenges we’ve faced together, and the ways both big and small that my team and I have made a difference in the lives of our neighbors. While my time in Congress will soon come to a close, I’m just as confident and committed as ever to keep up the work that got me into this fight in the first place for my remaining time in office – to help build the future we want for our children. I am truly humbled by the trust Virginians have placed in me, and I look forward to continuing to serve the people of our district.”

Chris Graham

Chris Graham

Chris Graham is the founder and editor of Augusta Free Press. A 1994 alum of the University of Virginia, Chris is the author and co-author of seven books, including Poverty of Imagination, a memoir published in 2019, and Team of Destiny: Inside Virginia Basketball’s Run to the 2019 National Championship, and The Worst Wrestling Pay-Per-View Ever, published in 2018. For his commentaries on news, sports and politics, go to his YouTube page, or subscribe to his Street Knowledge podcast. Email Chris at [email protected].