Tina Freitas Announces Exploratory Committee to Challenge Sen. Hanger

On February 4, 2019, Senator Emmett Hanger drew a potential primary challenger in Tina Freitas. Many may know Tina as the wife of incumbent Delegate Nick Freitas (who also ran against Corey Stewart and EW Jackson for the Republican nomination to challenge Tim Kaine for the U.S. Senate in 2018). Tina has announced that she has formed an exploratory committee to “seriously consider” a run for the State Senate.

Senator Hanger has represented the 24th Senate District in the General Assembly since 1999. He has only incurred a primary challenge twice: once in 2007 when he defeated former 6th District Chairman Scott Sayre, 53-47 percent; and again, most recently, in 2015 when he defeated Dan Moxley and Marshall Pattie – earning 60 percent.

Tina Freitas was kind enough to answer a few questions to get a cursory background into why she believes Senator Hanger deserves a primary challenge and what deficiencies she sees in the General Assembly. There will be a more in-depth vetting should she formally announce a challenge.

Q: “We all understand the opposition to Senator Hanger’s vote concerning Medicaid expansion and the subsequent funding for Planned Parenthood. If you are elected, what would your alternative be to Medicaid expansion? Do you support or oppose government funding for Planned Parenthood – why or why not?

A: “Ultimately, the goal is to make healthcare more accessible to everyone. We can go a long way toward that goal if we work to get the government out of the way. For instance, COPN (Certificate of Public Need) reform is desperately needed in order to allow more competition into the marketplace to drive prices downward. Right now, due to government restrictions which bar entry into the marketplace, supply is being restricted to keep prices high to benefit certain medical providers over others. Lifting those restrictions would allow for more competition, bringing the cost of care back within reach and benefiting patients.

“Right now, we have military medics, combat veterans, who have been trained to provide a wide range of care in the most stressful of environments, and yet when they enter civilian life, they are a criminal if they use their skills to help someone here. I want to make it easier for our trained medics to enter the marketplace and provide greater access to everyone. With respect to abortion, I believe the fact that Emmett Hanger voted to send 2 million dollars to Planned Parenthood is morally bankrupt. Our tax dollars should never be sent to Planned Parenthood or any other organization in the abortion industry. As a Christian, I believe in the sanctity of innocent human life to my core. This topic hits very close to home for me because one of my best friends in the world is an abortion survivor and I cannot image this world without her and her two daughters. The fact that Hanger essentially voted to force her to subsidize, through her tax dollars, the very industry that tried to kill her, is unjust and unacceptable.”

Q: “You said in your Facebook post that “I believe that the reason our party has faltered is not because there is something wrong with what we believe, but rather because we have elected too many politicians who don’t genuinely believe in it.” You also said that “unfortunately, we are represented as if Hanger is ashamed of the principles which we share here in the 24th.” In your opinion, what are the key fundamental principles that voters in the 24th share; specifically, what principles are going unrepresented?

A: “Our district is very conservative and cares about our constitutional rights, religious liberty, our right to bear arms, fiscal responsibility, low taxes, limited constitutional government, sanctity of human life, educational choice, and opposition to cronyism.

“A quick glance over Hanger’s voting record shows us that he killed Constitutional Carry bills three years in a row, voted against bills which protected counselors from being forced to violate their religious beliefs, voted against charter schools and other school choice legislation, voted against a bill which would have prevented tax dollars from paying for abortion, voted to send 2 million [dollars] to Planned Parenthood, has consistently voted to give our tax dollars, other carve-outs and special exemptions to large solar firms, voted for the three largest proposed tax increases in Virginia history to the tune of 3.4 BILLION annually, as well as a multitude of other tax increases including increased gas taxes. He voted against preventing taxpayer dollars from being spent on embryonic stem cell research, broke with Republicans to vote for left-wing judges, voted every year for the ERA (Equal Rights Amendment) which has drastic implications which would hurt women, voted to fully implement Obamacare, and more. Despite being an overwhelmingly conservative district, Hanger has broken with his fellow Republicans more than any sitting Senator. Hanger’s record makes it painfully clear that he has voted against our district on nearly every point. I believe we need to make sure voters see what is really being done in our name in Richmond.”

Q: “Some quick research indicates that, if you’re elected, that you and Nick may be the first husband-wife duo serving concurrently in the General Assembly. What does public service mean to you and your family?”

A: “Your first point is very interesting, what a coincidence that this year is also the 50 year anniversary of “Virginia is For Lovers.” As a military family, service has always been a significant part of our lives. Any military spouse can tell you that one spouse may deploy but the whole family serves because we love our country so much that we are willing to sacrifice everything to protect America for future generations. As an Army wife, I spent years holding down the home front while Nick deployed and fought for our country. I love the idea of fighting alongside him in the face of opposition for the sake of our Commonwealth.

The Senate Democrats only need to flip one Republican to their side to get through what has become an increasingly extremist left-wing agenda. That is why I am very seriously considering a run. Hanger’s pattern of siding with the Democrats can no longer be ignored, there is far too much at stake. I personally love the prospect of joining the fight and standing firm against the “new left’s” destructive agenda and taking back the ground that weak politicians have ceded to them.”

Tina Freitas will be a formidable challenger to Senator Hanger if she chooses to enter the primary. The rumor-mill has been going about possible potential challengers to Senator Hanger, including a reprise of Dan Moxley and/or Scott Sayre. However, the entrance of Tina Freitas will likely clear the field of anyone further to the “right” of Senator Hanger.

Tina will likely enjoy heavy support in the Counties of Culpeper, Greene, and Madison with Senator Hanger enjoying heavy support in Rockingham and solid support in Augusta. How much a challenger can eat into the margins in Augusta, Staunton, and Waynesboro will likely decide any primary challenge. Regardless of who you support, this will likely be an interesting primary challenge.

The Republican nominee will be the likely victor in the general election with Senator Hanger enjoying an unopposed general election since 2011, winning the 2007 general election with 65.37% of the vote, the 2003 general election with 74.27% of the vote, and being unopposed in the 1999 general election.

Stay tuned for more to come as the primaries take shape.