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by Brandon Jarvis

The two strongest candidates that are seeking the Republican nomination to run in 2022 for Congress in Virginia’s second congressional district are neck and neck in fundraising according to the latest filings. The Democratic incumbent still drastically outraised them both, however. 

State Sen. Jen Kiggans and Jarome Bell are the two prominent candidates in a field of five Republicans seeking to run against Congresswoman Elaine Luria, a Democrat that was first elected to represent the second district in 2018. 

In addition to her work as a state Senator and nurse practitioner in the Virginia Beach area, Kiggans was previously a helicopter pilot in the Navy. She raised $122,786 during the latest fundraising period according to her filing with the Federal Elections Commission (FEC) and has $206,888 cash on hand. 

Bell served in the Navy for 27 years eventually becoming a Chief Petty Officer. He sought the VA-02 GOP nomination in 2020 but was unsuccessful in his bid. He raised $111,764 during the latest fundraising period according to his FEC filing with only $24,839 cash on hand. 

Bell, a strong supporter of former President Donald Trump, has recently been facing backlash for a tweet indicating he would support executing election officials across the country. “Audit all 50 states. Arrest all involved. Try all involved. Convict all involved. Execute all involved. #MaricopaCountyFraud.”

His account has since been suspended by Twitter. 

Before flipping blue in 2018, the district voted for the Republican nominee Scott Taylor by 12 points in 2016. The current Rep. Elaine Luria, a former Navy Commander, then beat Taylor by three points two years later in 2018. She defeated Taylor again in 2020 by nearly six points. 

But even as her victory margin grew in 2020, Republicans are hopeful that the district will have a change of heart after two years of a Biden presidency. 

Luria appears to be up to the challenge, however. She reported raising ​​$725,724 during the latest filing period with $1,796,969 cash on hand. 

The remaining three candidates on the Republican ballot, Tommy Altman, Andy Baan, and Ted Engquist have been fundraising at much lower levels than Bell and Kiggans. 

The nomination method for VA-02 Republicans has not been determined yet. 

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By vascope