Leahy: Virginia’s U.S. House Elections

Virginia voters went to the polls in some parts of the state on Tuesday to select congressional nominees for the November general election. A few narratives immediately emerged, setting up what should be real donnybrooks in the redrawn 2nd and 7th districts.

In the 2nd, Republicans tapped state Sen. Jen A. Kiggans (Virginia Beach) to challenge incumbent Rep. Elaine Luria (D). The 2nd has been one of Virginia’s true swing districts over the years. Now, it looks to favor Republicans, and Kiggans is serving up what the GOP craves: opposition to “radical transgender policies” and critical race theory and support for “election integrity.”

One potential flash point in this race: Luria serves on the House committee investigating the Jan. 6, 2021, insurrection on the Capitol. Luria has not shied from this service and has made it a part of her reelection effort. Kiggans is in “see no evil, speak no evil” mode, not discussing either ex-president Donald Trump or the Jan. 6 horror show.

In the heavily redrawn 7th District, GOP voters picked the Trumpiest of all the candidates running: Prince William County Supervisor Yesli Vega (Coles).

Vega will face Democratic incumbent Abigail Spanberger, who has been busy introducing herself to the voters of the reconfigured 7th while banking the campaign cash.

On paper, the 7th looks like a toss-up. But in Vega, the GOP chose a culture warrior who has no problem campaigning alongside performance artist Republicans such as Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Tex.) and Virginia’s own Rep. Bob Good.

And don’t get Vega started on the Jan. 6 riot at the Capitol. In response to a question from the Star-Exponent about the events of that day, Vega said she wasn’t “going to play into [the media] narrative.”

As with the race in the 2nd District, the 7th will tell us a great deal about who truly believes in the rule of law, constitutional principles and so on, and who is in this politics game for the lulz.

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