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by Brandon Jarvis

U.S. House Republican Caucus Chair Elise Stefanik’s E-PAC endorsed Virginia state Senator Jen Kiggans as she seeks the nomination to run against Rep. Elaine Luria (D-Virginia Beach) in the second congressional district. The PAC also put Taylor Keeney, a Republican seeking the nomination to run against Rep. Abigail Spanberger (D-Henrico) in the seventh congressional district, on a list of ‘Women to Watch.’

Stefanik is the third-ranking Republican in the House of Representatives and represents New York’s 21 congressional district.

“As small business owners, mothers, veterans, and health care leaders, these women make up the most impressive and diverse group of rising stars we’ve ever seen,” Stefanik said in a statement. “E-PAC’s endorsed candidates are determined to build on the historic success of last cycle, when we more than doubled the Republican women elected to Congress. In 2020, GOP women were history makers, and in 2022, GOP women will be majority makers.”

Kiggans is a state Senator and nurse practitioner in the Virginia Beach area and was a helicopter pilot in the Navy before that. She is running against a slate of Republicans looking to unseat Luria, the two-term representative who is also a military veteran. Luria flipped this seat in 2018 and was reelected again in 2020 when the Republican she defeated two years earlier ran against her again.

“I’m honored to have been named a ‘rising star’ as I continue fighting to give coastal Virginians the conservative representation and results they deserve,” Kiggans said Wednesday.

In the seventh congressional district, Taylor Keeney, the former staffer for Gov. Bob McDonnell who currently runs a non-profit called ‘Little Hands Virginia,’ also received recognition from E-PAC on their “Women to Watch” list.

She is trying to run against Rep. Spanberger, who is also a two-term congresswoman after flipping a Republican seat in 2018. Spanberger is facing tough prospects in her district with legislative redistricting and the national environment looking unfavorable for her.

Similar to 2020, Republicans are expected to put a lot of focus on flipping this seat.

Keeney expressed thanks to Stefanik’s PAC for the mention Wednesday. She also referenced Gov.-elect Glenn Youngkin as an example of the type of Republican nominee needed to win in Virginia. “Winning back the 7th Congressional District is going to take a conservative outsider and fresh voice. Governor-elect Youngkin showed us the way to unite the GOP,” Keeney said. “We can’t keep putting up the same old candidates and expect a different result; it’s time for new conservative leadership in Virginia.”

So far, State Sen. Amanda Chase, state Sen. Bryce Reeves, state Del. John McGuire, and 2020 candidate Tina Ramirez have filed to run for Congress as a Republican in the seventh district. It is unclear, however, which district each of them will be residing within when the final lines are drawn by the state Supreme Court in the redistricting process taking place right now.

By vascope