VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (WAVY) — The Hampton Roads Chamber hosted a debate Wednesday for the 2nd Congressional District race between Congresswoman Elaine Luria and State Senator Jen Kiggans.

The debate was held at the Marriott Virginia Beach Oceanfront on Atlantic Avenue. While open to the public, the much-anticipated event had already sold out ahead of the Wednesday event.

The two candidates debated on a variety of issues including two that are very important to Hampton Roads, infrastructure and the military.

State Sen. Jen Kiggans (R) is a Navy veteran helicopter pilot and nurse practitioner challenging incumbent Rep. Elaine Luria (D). Kiggans says she’s hoping people in the Second District will vote with their pocketbooks.

Luria is seeking re-election, and her profile has only gotten higher on the national stage with her participation in the Select Committee to Investigate the Jan. 6 Attack on the U.S. Capitol.

This is one of the most visible races in the country. It’s also the most well-funded congressional race in Virginia and North Carolina, and in most states across the country. 

Watch the debate below.

10 On Your Side was there for the debate and there was plenty of tension in the room. What became clear was that these are two really strong candidates, each representing her party.  

The two approached from either side of the stage and did not shake hands before or after the event.  

The struggling economy was the first big topic to discuss. Kiggans spent a lot of time bashing the Biden administration on what she called “a failed economy.”  

“Our inflation is at a 4-year high. It was at 1.5% when Joe Biden took office. This November will be a referendum on his failed economic plan. That is the face of Elaine Luria in Hampton Roads.”

“Listen to my opponent, and how this is because of failed policies of this administration and are because of Vladimir Putin,” Luria shot back. “I voted for the Inflation Reduction Act because it is the largest investment in all the above energy plan that our country has ever seen.” 

“From the Joe Biden Administration in the 2nd District, those energy policies go by Elaine Luria who votes for them 99% of the time,” said Kiggans. 

“We don’t need Vladimir Putin to be determining the prices of a gallon of gas in the United States,” said Luria. “We need to be energy independent, and in order to do that, we need to bring in all of the things we can like advanced nuclear, of which I have been a huge advocate.” 

In this race there are two major issues: the economy and the issue of a woman’s right to have an abortion. Each candidate has called the other extreme on that issue. 

“She [Kiggans] said in her first debate running for State Senate, her reason for running was to protect the sanctity of life. That was her number one reason,” Luria added. “She clearly wants to tell you how to live your life. If you are a woman dying because of a complicated pregnancy, she certainly wants to tell you how to live your life. Or if you are a 10-year-old who is a rape or incest victim who can’t get an abortion here in Virginia.” 

On many occasions, both candidates have accused the other of lying, 

“I am not appreciative of my opponent who lies about me. I have always been a person who supported abortion in cases of rape, incest or when the life of the mother is in danger,” said Kiggans. “I don’t think that is an extreme position.” 

In her closing argument, Elain Luria became most impassioned about who should vote for her and who should not. 

“And I will tell you, there are certain cases where I am not your candidate. I am not your candidate if you think the election was stolen. I am not your candidate if you think $70 million should go to a forensic audit of the 2020 election in a state where Biden won by 10 points and there is no hint of election fraud anywhere,” Luria added. 

After the debate, Kiggans was asked about the 2020 election by reporters and if she believes President Biden was fairly elected. 

Her answer —“there are a lot of extreme words used in this campaign. That’s why I ran for this. I hate that stuff.” 

But 10 On Your Side asked her again whether Joe Biden fairly won the election. Kiggans laughed and gave another answer to another question before walking away.


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