Jarome Bell, a Republican congressional candidate from Virginia took the stage at an event with former President Donald Trump Tuesday night.
Bell is seeking the nomination to run against Rep. Elaine Luria (D) this November. While on stage with Trump, Bell referred to his primary opponent state Sen. Jen Kiggans as a “RINO” which stands for “Republican in name only.”
Trump shook Bell’s hand and told him he will “take a look at that.”
VA-02 Republican candidate Jarome Bell was invited onstage with Trump last night. Bell told Trump he was running against a “RINO” in state Sen. Jen Kiggans pic.twitter.com/jmB294X6bd— Brandon Jarvis (@Jaaavis) May 4, 2022
Bell politics are to the right of Kiggans in a district that looks poised to flip from blue to red in November. Kiggans worked to strengthen her defenses from the right by taking extra-conservative votes and sponsoring legislation this year aimed at pleasing the election integrity faction of the party.
So far, Trump has stayed clear of the competitive Virginia congressional races. He lost Virginia by 10 points in 2020 meaning he could very well be a liability for a Republican candidate.
Glenn Youngkin kept Trump at a distance throughout 2021 while not causing him to lash out in any way. That was key to keeping Republicans united for the gubernatorial race.
Youngkin was able to win just one year after Trump lost to President Joe Biden by 10 points.
According to an analysis from the Virginia Public Access Project, Glenn Youngkin won the second congressional district by 11 points in 2021’s gubernatorial race. Sen. Tim Kaine won the district by 7 points in 2018 against Corey Stewart, a nominee that is very similar to Bell in extreme views and rhetoric.
Bell and Kiggans are facing off in a primary against two other Republicans on June 21 to determine the nominee. Kiggans has raised $1.1 million during her campaign. Bell has raised $424,098 but has only $9,433 cash on hand with $39,082 in outstanding debt. Tommy Altman has raised $188,654 and Andy Baan has raised $23,289.
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