Va. GOP set to pick midterm nominees in swing districts
Republican primary voters will pick their nominees in two districts expected to be the most competitive in November
(Virginia Mercury) - Virginia electing a Republican governor in 2021 for the first time in more than a decade was one of the first major signs of how bad the political vibes were getting for Democrats.
This year, the Virginia GOP is trying to build on Gov. Glenn Youngkin’s upset victory by flipping a handful of Democratic-controlled congressional districts that could be some of the most hotly contested in the country.
On Tuesday, Republican primary voters will pick their nominees in the two districts expected to be the most competitive in November: the Virginia Beach-anchored, military-heavy 2nd District and the new-look 7th District, which shifted north from the Richmond suburbs and is now based mostly in Prince William, Stafford and Spotsylvania counties.
With inflation high and President Joe Biden’s approval numbers low, Republicans see a chance to win back some or all of the three congressional seats they lost in the anti-Trump wave of 2018.
“All the polling I have seen says that this is an unprecedented high-water mark for Republican opportunities,” said House of Delegates Speaker Todd Gilbert, R-Shenandoah, whose caucus narrowly retook majority control last year. “I hate the cost at which that comes, because it is borne of a real dissatisfaction with our national leadership and the pain people are feeling all around in their personal budgets. That is clearly having an impact on the national mood.”
Many Republican primaries in other states have been interpreted as a test of former President Donald Trump’s power over the party, but Trump has made no formal endorsements in Virginia’s contests. Youngkin, who tried to keep Trump at arm’s length last year without alienating the pro-Trump base, has also stayed out of the primaries.
Without a major Trump angle, Tuesday’s results will mostly be a test of whether Republican voters agree with GOP leaders and pundits about who’s most electable in November or deliver a surprise by picking a lesser-known figure.
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