Leahy: Spanberger’s October Surprise Might Be Denver Riggleman
We’re nearing the home stretch of the 2022 election season in Virginia, which means we should be on the lookout for those last-minute items that can change the narrative in close congressional races.
In other words, we should be bracing for October surprises. Most likely, these surprises will arise from events and personalities well beyond the control of the major party candidates — think the federal government shutdown and the glitchy rollout of the Obamacare website in October 2013 that intruded on Virginia’s gubernatorial race.
Or just about anything former president Donald Trump said and did during his four years in the White House. Republicans running for any office in Virginia during the Trump years lived under a shadow — and a Twitter account — that could put them on the defensive hours before some of them had rolled out of bed.
But that doesn’t mean Virginia Democrats are in the clear. Far from it. History shows voters take out whatever frustrations they have with an incumbent president in the congressional midterm elections, and Virginia is no different.
This year, Republicans are counting on headline worries about inflation and crime to carry them to victory. That’s a far cry from where they were in the last midterm election, when Trump was just about all Democrats needed to win.
In those 2018 midterm races, incumbent GOP Reps. Barbara Comstock, Dave Brat, and Scott Taylor all lost. Democrats have controlled the 10th, 7th and 2nd congressional districts since then. But keeping them this year — in particular, the 2nd, with incumbent Elaine Luria, and the 7th, with incumbent Abigail Spanberger, are going to be close-run things.