State Senator Jen Kiggans (R-Va Beach)

by Brandon Jarvis

Republican state Senator Jen Kiggans is officially seeking the Republican nomination to run for Congress against Elaine Luria (D-VA02) in 2022.

Kiggans was first elected in 2019 to represent the seventh state Senate district in Virginia Beach. “I’ve battled the liberal, one-party rule in Richmond, but we are now facing an even bigger threat in Washington,” she said in her video announcement Monday. “Our Congresswoman has voted with Nancy Pelosi 92% of the time and sides with a radical agenda that is wreaking havoc on our economy, our national security, and our Commonwealth.”

Luria has been representing Virginia’s coastal congressional district since 2018 when she defeated the Republican incumbent, Scott Taylor, by less than three points. Luria then faced Taylor again in 2020 with Trump on the ticket and saw a larger, five-point victory.

Dr. Stephen Farnsworth, a professor of political science at Mary Washington University said this will be one of the most competitive districts in the country. “There is likely to be a lot of competition,” he said. “Congresswoman Luria has benefited from an energized, anti-Trump element of the electorate in her previous campaigns — but the electorate may look somewhat different in 2022 when Trump is neither president nor on the ballot.”

But the comparisons to recent years need to be taken with a grain of salt.

“We have an added dose of uncertainty in the line-drawing process this cycle with the new redistricting commission,” Farnsworth said. The legislative lines are redrawn every 10 years to reflect the latest census data and Virginia has a brand new bipartisan redistricting commission that was created to carry out the process this year.

There is no way to know ahead of time what the new potential lines will look like. Virginia’s House of Delegates elections this year are being conducted with the old lines due to the delay in census results preventing the commission from having the time to create a new map for the November elections. Federal races in 2022 should have adequate time, however, with the lines expected to be finalized before the end of 2021.

Farnsworth stressed the importance of acknowledging that any small changes in redistricting later this year could have a significant impact on such a competitive race for Luria. “Other districts may change more than VA-02 will, but in a closely divided congressional district like that one currently is, even small changes could have big impacts,” he said.

With more than a year until the Republican nominee will even be chosen, Kiggans has no lack of time to campaign and reach out to voters across the Tidewater region. “I’m running for Congress because I have the courage to fight back against this progressive agenda, to help Republicans win back control of the House, to balance the power in Washington, and give the workers, families, and job creators of the Second District the results they deserve,” she said.

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. If you can chip in a monthly subscription of whatever you can afford, even $1, it will go a long way to helping us. Subscribe here. You can also make a one-time donation below:

By vascope