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Chris Hurst, Whose Girlfriend Was Fatally Shot on Air, Defeats N.R.A.-Backed Opponent

Chris Hurst, Whose Girlfriend Was Fatally Shot on Air, Defeats N.R.A.-Backed Opponent

“I think that she would be very proud,” he said. “And I continue to be proud of her.”

Ms. Parker and a cameraman, Adam Ward, were filming a live news segment when they were fatally shot by Vester Lee Flanagan II, who had been a reporter at the station where they worked, WDBJ in Roanoke, Va. The graphic footage was widely viewed, rocketing around social media after Mr. Flanagan, who later shot and killed himself, posted it on Facebook.

“She was the most radiant woman I ever met,” Mr. Hurst wrote of Ms. Parker after the shooting. “And for some reason she loved me back.”

Mr. Hurst was the only House candidate in Virginia who was endorsed by the advocacy group Everytown for Gun Safety. But he chose not to make gun control a key campaign issue even as he ran against Mr. Yost, a three-term incumbent with an A rating from the N.R.A. Mr. Hurst focused instead on mental health, as well as issues like health care and education funding.

Mr. Hurst described himself as a gun owner and supporter of the Second Amendment, but said that he was intent on trying “to reduce gun homicides, suicides and accidental deaths.”

The victory came on a banner night for Virginia Democrats. Lt. Gov. Ralph S. Northam soundly defeated the Republican nominee, Ed Gillespie, to win the governorship. And Mr. Hurst was one of at least 14 Democrats to retake what had formerly been Republican seats, putting the party in contention to retake the house of delegates for the first time in more than 15 years.

Asked if he thought the results were a rebuke to President Trump, Mr. Hurst paused to consider.

“I still think politics is local,” he said. “But I think there are many people who got active and started organizing who were trying to send a message as a sign of resistance against President Trump and his administration.”

Ms. Parker’s parents, Andy and Barbara, attended Mr. Hurst’s victory celebration Tuesday evening at a Hyatt in Blacksburg, Va., along with a crowd of about 100.

“There was no other place we would be,” Mr. Parker said on Wednesday. “Chris has been like a second son to us.”

He said that if his daughter had been alive, she would have been by Mr. Hurst’s side, making sure he followed through on his campaign promises.

“She had such a work ethic — she always did what she said she was going to do and she held herself to a higher standard,” Mr. Parker said. “And he knew that.”

Mr. Hurst had insisted from the beginning of his campaign that he was not trying to earn sympathy votes and did not want people’s pity, even as he explained that Ms. Parker’s death had been instrumental in his decision to change careers. He said that he hoped his victory would show people that “anyone can turn tragedy into triumph.”

“It’s not what happens on our worst day that defines us,” he said. “It’s what we do in response to it.”

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