Jun 21, 2022 - Politics & Policy

Jen Kiggans wins GOP primary to face Dem. Rep. Elaine Luria in Virginia

Jen Kiggans, a state senator and former Navy helicopter pilot, has won the Republican nomination in the race to represent Virginia’s 2nd Congressional District.

Why it matters: Kiggans will face Rep. Elaine Luria (D-Va.), herself a Navy veteran, in a race that is expected to be one of the most competitive in the country for Republicans.

  • Gov. Glenn Youngkin (R) won the Virginia Beach-anchored district by more than 11 points last year, according to an analysis by the nonpartisan Virginia Public Access Project.

Catch up quick: Kiggans, who claimed dozens of endorsements from local GOP establishment figures, was the strong favorite in a field of four.

The intrigue: Donald Trump did not issue any endorsements in Virginia this year, but the former president’s grasp over the GOP still loomed over the race.

  • Kiggans followed Youngkin’s playbook, embracing his policies without mentioning his name.
  • She declined to say whether she believes President Biden is the “lawfully elected president,” per the New York Times.
  • Only one of her competitors openly courted Trump; Jarome Bell, who campaigned as “the MAGA candidate” and once called for the execution of people involved with voter fraud.

What they’re saying: Republicans see the races against Luria and Rep. Abigail Spanberger (D-Va.) as key opportunities to pick up the seats they need to regain a majority in the U.S. House.

  • “All the polling I have seen says that this is an unprecedented high-water mark for Republican opportunities,” Virginia House Speaker Todd Gilbert (R) told the Virginia Mercury.
Go deeper