VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (WAVY) — Two weeks until Election Day, and early voting is underway with some communities doing Saturday voting this weekend.
The hot race continues to be in the Second District, and the ads between Democrat Elaine Luria and Republican challenger Jen Kiggans keep on coming at a fast pace.
Christopher Newport University’s most recent poll had the race tied at 45-45. We may not even know the winner on election night.
With $11 million raised, it’s the most expensive congressional House race in Virginia and North Carolina.
The two ads in Tuesday’s Truth Tracker hit the economy, predatory lending and a vote one candidate refuses to explain.
The ad sponsored by Republican Congressional Leadership shows a couple outside washing a car.
“Did you know Elaine Luria actually praised the Biden economy? She just does not get it. I am getting hosed here,“ the man says as he gets a face full of water.
10 On Your Side asked Luria if she is “hosing the voters.”
“That could not be further from the truth,” Luria responded.
The commercial continues with the words “Lame Elaine Luria. She helped create the economic mess.”
The ad sources her support for The American Rescue Plan Act, but the economy is challenged for many reasons, and it’s complex.
“The American Rescue Plan got money to local and state governments, got shots in arms, kids back in school, and keep small businesses open,” said Luria. “The payroll protection plans gave loans that helped tens of thousands of people in small business, helping them keep their doors open.”
The ad then states, “Luria is so out of touch she voted to give stimulus checks to criminals.”
The Truth Tracker finds that statement leaves a false impression. It is misleading, with the ad suggesting the criminals were the intended beneficiaries.
“The stimulus checks went to all qualified Americans who fit into the tax bracket,” Luria told 10 On Your Side.
Stimulus checks were not intended for people with criminal records, but it is TRUE people with criminal records may have received stimulus checks if they qualified.
“Criminals who are in jail could still be qualified to get a stimulus check,” Luria added. “Every American who qualified, based on their tax bracket, received funding. Every family had challenges during COVID.”
Luria says if she loses, it is likely due to redistricting, giving her a more Republican leaning district, and it’s a tough time for Democrats to run due to the poor economy and an unpopular president.
Also, it is TRUE Congresswoman Luria will not be campaigning with President Biden, choosing instead, U.S. Senators Mark Warner and Tim Kaine.
“I have made no plans for him [President Biden] to come. This race will be won on what I have delivered for the district. It is my name on the ballot, not Joe Biden’s.”
Now, to Jen Kiggans. The next ad targets Luria’s Republican challenger.
“Our family has always been about service and putting country first,” a mom says while at home with her two children. They are a Navy family.
The ad is sponsored by VoteVets Political Action Committee.
“Our family has always been about service and putting our country first,” the ad continued.
VoteVets then slams State Senator Jen Kiggans on a vote she made in April 2020.
“Kiggans voted against cracking down on predatory lenders and their unfair practices that especially hurt military families.”
That is TRUE. Kiggans did vote against Senate Bill 421 that among other measures would cap the annual interest rate for predatory or short-term loans at 36%.
Try as we did in our allotted five minutes to talk to her, Kiggans refused to answer 10 On Your Side’s inquiry and to explain why she voted for Senate Bill 421.
We tried repeatedly to get her to just explain her vote.
“But back to Senate Bill 421, why did you vote against the Virginia Fairness and Lending Act which you did?”
Kiggan’s response was, “that bill is not even referenced in the ad.”
That is TRUE: Senate Bill 421 is not mentioned, but the ad is on Predatory Lending and Senate Bill 421.
Again we asked, “why did you vote against SB421?”
Her answer: “I would never vote for anything that I thought would be considered to be hurtful or harmful to veterans.”
Obviously, VoteVets did think her vote was harmful on this issue, and that is why they put the ad on air.
We asked again.
“I need you to answer why you voted, the reasons, against SB 421?”
Kiggan’s answer: “I say 1 out 6 of our enlisted sailors cannot pay their bills right now.”
That would lead her into a criticism of the current economy.
We pointed out to Senator Kiggans that those who are for SB 421 argued the bill would help sailors who are on fixed incomes with lower interest rates.
The ad goes on. “[It] turns out Kiggans took all that money from special interests funded by the payday loan industry. Jen Kiggans is a fraud.”
“So that ad, in particular, calling me a fraud is very hurtful to me as a veteran,” said Kiggans.
10 On Your Side asked Kiggans about money from special interests.
“I never took money for my campaign from these organizations, from those payday lenders.”
However, it is true. Campaign finance reports show Kiggans took $20,000 in 2019, and before the vote on SB 421 in April 2020, from the GOPAC Election Fund when she was running for State Senate.
And it is TRUE that at least $100,000 was contributed to that GOPAC Fund from these payday lenders:
- Amscot Financial
- Check Into Cash, Inc.
- Advance America
But, it is also TRUE that those lenders did not contribute directly to her campaign, and she would only give us five minutes for the interview.
“Senator, again, can you please answer that question? Why did you vote against it? Why did you vote against SB 421?”
Her non-answer, again: “I would not do anything to harm our veteran population.”
And then we heard the five-minute timer go off, at which point Senator Kiggans gets up and walks away, dragging the microphone still strapped to her dress.
She never answered the question about SB 421.