VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (WAVY) — Tuesday is Republican Primary Day for U.S. Congress, and 10 On Your Side will be closely watching the race in the Second Congressional District.
The winner of the four Republicans faces Democratic incumbent Congresswoman Elaine Luria.
This is a race where three of the candidates think democratic-leaning political action committees are trying to determine the republican primary outcome.
The highest-profile of the candidates is State Senator Jen Kiggans (R) Virginia Beach.
It’s certainly not the biggest day for going to the polls, but it could be a pivotal one down the road, and even a possible hint of what could be coming in the November mid-terms.
A political commercial now on air ties Republican primary candidate Jarome Bell to Donald Trump.
“He is running for Congress to carry the Trump torch to make America great again,” the commercial said, paid for by Patriotic Majority PAC (Political Action Committee) that states the PAC is responsible for the ad.
The only problem is republican candidate Bell has not been endorsed by Donald Trump, and Patriot Majority is a democratic-leaning political action committee.
“What about the ads? It’s the Democrats playing in a Republican Primary, so that has got to stop, and I need voters to know that they are being lied to with a lot of false information,” Candidate and State Senator Jen Kiggans told 10 On Your Side.
The ad could influence pro-Trump republicans to vote for Jarome Bell who agrees.
“I think it is a positive ad for me because this district is a Trump district the way the lines have been redrawn. This is an ultra-conservative district and these people like President Trump.”
The ad by the Democratic-leaning PAC could influence anti-Trump Democrats to go out and support Kiggans or two other republican candidates. Kiggans calls it dark political money.
The ad states, “If Bell wins then Trump wins.”
Kiggans ads that on direct mail pieces, “it states if Bell Wins Trump Wins.”
“There is no return address, no disclaimer on those ads, and then there is a union print shop stamp and that tells me they are coming from Democrats.”
It should be noted that Kiggans is mirroring the campaign Governor Glenn Youngkin ran keeping Donald Trump arm’s length away from the campaign.
When asked if it’s fair to say she is with Youngkin and not with Trump?
“Well, right now with the Virginia Senate, I work with Youngkin,” said Kiggans.
“They are trying to get the Democrats to come out and vote for my opponent because they are afraid a win by Jarome Bell is a win for Donald Trump in 2024,” Bell told 10 On Your Side.
A radio ad by democratic-leaning Free America Pac says “Kiggans voted with the democrats for the ERA which allows for abortion on demand.”
Kiggans claims it is not true.
“Democrats are playing in a republican primary. I need voters to know that the fact Democrats are now invested in our primary should really anger Republicans out there.”
“It’s Democrats (producing these ads) so it’s pretty ironic Democrats are coming in and campaigning for a candidate,” Bell added.
A third primary candidate, Tommy Altman, is not the target of any ad, but he says his ground game to get out the vote will win for him.
“The most respectful way to get a vote is to talk to them in person, knocking on doors, talking to people. We’ve met tens of thousands of voters at this point.”
10 On Your Side’s equests for comment from the PACS in this report were not answered.
A fourth primary candidate, Andy Baan, says his three top issues include concern about federal debt on children, immigration, and a culture change from “go along to get along,” to asking difficult questions on what we spend money on.
Republican primary day is Tuesday. It is an open primary, so any registered voter can vote which might explain the outside entities taking part in a party primary.