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by Brandon Jarvis

Virginia Beach, Va – The race for a 2023 state Senate seat could become more interesting if Jen Kiggans wins her congressional race next month. Kiggans is running against Rep. Elaine Luria (D) in the second congressional district, but she was elected in 2019 to a four-year term in the state Senate. If she wins this November, there will have to be a special election to fill her seat in the state Senate where Democrats currently have a 21-19 majority. 

The latest polling in VA-02 shows a tied race between Luria and Kiggans.

Redistricting took place at the end of last year meaning the state Senate district that Kiggans would be seeking reelection to next year is different than the one she was elected to in 2019. If Kiggans is successful against Luria in November, then a special election will have to take place to replace her old district seat, SD-07, for one year. 

The next legislative session begins on Jan. 11. 

In the new SD-22, where 70% of Kiggans’ current district will be voting next year, a Democrat is building a coalition of powerful supporters from his party for 2023 – with the possibility of a run sooner in a special election to replace Kiggans if one were to take place. 

City Councilman Aaron Rouse (D) announced Wednesday that Majority Leader Dick Saslaw (D), Sens. Mamie Locke (D), Dave Marsden (D), Scott Surovell (D), and John Bell (D) are endorsing his campaign for SD-22 in 2023. “I know Aaron will bring new energy and a fresh perspective to the State Senate,” Saslaw said in his endorsement. “I’m proud to join with my colleagues in the Senate in supporting Aaron to be the next State Senator from Virginia Beach.”

Rouse has also been endorsed by Senate President Pro Tempore Louise Lucas (D), Dels. Marcia Price (D), Cliff Hayes (D), and Clint Jenkins (D).

Cheryl Turpin is the only other Democratic candidate seeking the nomination in SD-22.  Kiggans defeated Turpin by less than one point in 2019

While Rouse is working to try and help Luria win her race in November, a Democratic operative speaking to Virginia Scope said they believe Rouse would also run in a special election to finish Kiggans’ term in SD-07 if needed. He would then have to run again next year in the new SD-22. 

Kevin Adams is the only Republican currently seeking the nomination in SD-22. There is no incumbent in this district. According to an analysis from VPAP, SD-22 voted for Democrat Terry McAuliffe by 5.5 points in 2021. 

Republican state Sen. Bill Desteph was drawn into the same district as Kiggans in the new SD-20 according to VPAP. This means a victory for her in VA-02 against Luria would help avoid a possible tough nomination battle between the two Republicans next year. However, As reported earlier, 70% of the new SD-22 is made up of Kiggans’ previous district. A move into SD-22 would be a plausible option for Kiggans should she lose to Luria. 

Election day for Kiggans and Luria is November 8. It doesn’t matter which nominee wins — the Virginia Beach political scene will feel the impact afterward.

Virginia Scope is an independent news publication that is funded largely by donations and subscribers. As local newsrooms are losing writers each day, we are trying to fill the void to ensure that the public is informed and that leaders are held accountable for their actions. Please consider becoming a paid subscriber to our newsletter or making a donation through Paypal below so we can continue to work in Virginia. 

By vascope