VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (WAVY) — One of the midterm races getting the most attention is Virginia’s Second Congressional District race.
The political ads have been flooding the airwaves, as the hotly contested congressional battle pits two Navy veterans against each other.
Democrat Elaine Luria, a retired Navy commander is challenged by Republican Jen Kiggans, a retired Navy helicopter pilot.
The district has changed since Luria won two years ago. It’s more Republican, after redistricting added some very Republican precincts in Chesapeake.
10 On Your Side asked Luria, what do you regret about this campaign? Her quick answer: “nothing.”
Rep. Luria served on the Select Committee to Investigate the January 6th Attack on the United States Capitol. She is really proud of that and wants to remain on guard.
“You got to vote now because if they get back into a position of power the forces that tried to pull off January 6th will try to get Trump back in power, get back in a position, and they will try again and they could be successful next time.”
Kiggans told WAVY in an interview in August, “If you think the country is not going in the right direction, look who has been in place, look at who’s been voting for the current laws and priorities.”
Kiggans was elected to the Virginia State Senate in 2019 wants more deregulation.
“We also must stop the overregulating of our businesses that we have put in place. We are seeing in Washington this big government, overreaching big government, and we don’t need that.”
Luria is confident her hard work will be rewarded with re-election in a district that became more Republican in redistricting,
“The voters in the second district know the work I have been doing to protect our democracy, to grow the Navy, to provide the resources we need,” she said.
In her campaign, Luria ran 17 TV commercials on a wide range of issues,
“Those commercials covered many issues … increase in veterans care, increase in the defense budget, I did talk about abortion, and a woman’s right to choose. I leaned in a lot in my closing commercials, three of them, and they spoke about threats to our democracy.”
Kiggans thinks untapping energy sources is the solution to bringing down gas prices.
“Finding domestic energy sources, reopening the Keystone [XL] Pipeline, incentivizing domestic energy production.”
So far 100,000 people have voted early in Virginia, and Luria says the trends are moving her way.
“The early vote is leaning towards me by 6-8 points.”
This is a top five race for both Democrats and Republicans, and will be part of the equation for the balance of power in Washington.
The proof of that: this race has brought in more than $12.8 million, and that’s just through October 19.
Kiggans says: “It’s the economy, the economy, the economy. Pocketbook issues that are going to drive voters out to vote.”
Kiggans and Republicans across the country have been laser focused on the embattled economy and a Democratic president with low approval ratings. Republicans smell political blood in the water.
“A department head on a ship told me their ship watch rotation is now impacted by gas prices. They are having to adjust their watch scheduled for their sailors based on where they live, they are carpooling,” Kiggans told us in August.
Democrats such as Luria have seized on the U.S. Supreme Court eliminating the constitutional right to an abortion, and she felt support from that.
“Women are motivated not just Democrats, Republican women too. You might recall, I had a commercial and the Republican woman said she’s voted for only Republicans, until now and she’s voting for me because she really cares about choice.”
Two issues that could bring record numbers to the polls for this midterm election are the economy and abortion.
10 On Your Side asked Luria about potential issues at the polls on Tuesday,
“I think we have very competent election officials across Hampton Roads and working hard to make this a safe and secure election.”
Sen. Kiggan’s campaign said she wasn’t available for this story, so we went back and looked at her interview from August and pulled statements from that for this report.
Luria did meet with us, and we asked after this bruising campaign what could she say nice about her opponent.
“Of course. Political campaigns get heated, we disagree on issues. I am enthused about things I care about. I think Jen Kiggans is a very devoted wife and mother, and I don’t think of her negatively as a person.”
The race is too close to call. The CNU poll had it 46-46. We’ve been told the race is still a dead heat, with independents determining the outcome of this race.
We also want to remind you it is extremely possible there will be a winner on election night because the numbers could be that close, requiring a recount.
If the race separation is 1%, the state or locality pays for it. If the race is within ½ a percent, the state or locality will pay for the recount. Over that to 1% the candidate can request a recount, but has to pay for it.