Originally published by Inside NOVA

The granddaughter of Virginia Senate President Pro Tempore L. Louise Lucas has joined what is now a three-way race for the Democratic nomination in the newly created 19th District seat in the Virginia House of Delegates.

Natalie Louise Shorter of Woodbridge announced her candidacy for the seat on Wednesday.

The 19th District now consists of portions of northeastern Prince William County and southeastern Fairfax County. Its southern limit is primarily along Rippon Boulevard, although a small area near Leesylvania State Park is included. Its western edge follows Interstate 95 from Northern Virginia Community College to the Occoquan River.

In Fairfax, the district includes the Lorton and Mason Neck areas, with its northern border encompassing Fort Belvoir.

The district is considered strong Democratic, according to the Virginia Public Access Project, with 65.7% of its vote in the 2021 gubernatorial election going to Democrat Terry McAuliffe, who wound up losing to Gov. Glenn Youngkin.

Shorter joins Makya Little, a community advocate, and Rozia Henson, a leader in the local Young Democrats, as Democratic candidates for the seat. A primary will be held June 20 to select a nominee for the November general election. No Republican candidate has announced a campaign for the seat.

Shorter, a local advocate and mom of two teenage daughters, highlighted protecting abortion rights in her announcement.

“Right now, abortion rights are under attack in Virginia,” she said. “I’m running for the House of Delegates to stand up to the extremists in Richmond who are trying to take away my daughters’ right to choose and push radical policies that are hurting Virginia families like mine.”

According to a news release, Shorter’s father was a U.S. Army veteran who served more than two decades in the Portsmouth Sheriff’s Department & Narcotics unit, and her mother was a German immigrant.

She graduated with an advanced studies diploma from IC Norcom High School’s magnet program in Portsmouth, but then lost both of her parents, became a single mom and sometimes survived on public assistance, according to the release. She went on to build a career in sales and finance management and is currently completing a bachelor’s degree in political science online.

Shorter and her husband, a U.S. Navy veteran, live in Woodbridge with two teenage daughters, and they own a small real estate business.

“From safer communities, to better schools and stronger infrastructure, we need to build a Virginia where families aren’t just scraping by, but thriving,” Shorter said.

According to the Virginia Public Affairs Project, Little had raised about $55,000 for her campaign as of Dec. 31, and Henson had raised about $21,000. Both Little and Henson announced their candidacies last year.