In Three Key Virginia House Races, Republicans Unseat One Incumbent, Fail to Eject Two Others

Patrick Goodenough | November 8, 2022 | 11:39pm EST
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Jen Kiggans with Republican Leader Kevin McCarthy in Virginia Beach last month. (Photo: Kiggans/Facebook)
Jen Kiggans with Republican Leader Kevin McCarthy in Virginia Beach last month. (Photo: Kiggans/Facebook)

( – A closely-watched race between two U.S. Navy veterans in Virginia’s 2nd Congressional District ended in victory Tuesday night for Republican challenger Jen Kiggans, who unseated two-term incumbent Rep. Elaine Luria, a member of the House select committee investigating the January 6, 2021 attack on the U.S. Capitol.

With 96 percent of precincts in the redrawn district in Virginia's far south-east reporting, Kiggans was ahead of Luria by 52 points to 47.9.

Luria told supporters shortly before 11PM that she had called Kiggans to congratulate her, and when some booed at the mention of her opponent’s name she urged them not to do so.

In reference to her work on the nine-member January 6 committee, Luria said that “making sure that we can preserve our democracy and our votes continue to count – that work continues.”

Luria served as a naval officer for 20 years. Hawkish on foreign policy, she was the only member of her party to vote against a Democrat-led resolution in June 2021 repealing the 2002 authorization for the Iraq War.

Kiggans, a Virginia state senator and nurse practitioner, served as a U.S. Navy helicopter pilot for ten years.

The two came down on distinctly opposite sides of last summer’s U.S. Supreme Court’s Dobbs decision overturning Roe v. Wade.

“This is our chance to take a stand against the extremist Democrat policies that call for abortions up until the moment of birth, keeping babies who survive abortion ‘comfortable’ without lifesaving measures, and mandating taxpayer-funded abortions,” Kiggans said when the decision was released in June.

Luria called the ruling “a rollback of the rights of women,” adding, “For the first time in our nation’s history, today’s women have less freedoms than previous generations.”

In a victory speech, Kiggans thanked Luria. “Although we may differ in our political ideology, we certainly share a love for our Navy and a love for our country.”

“Tonight we celebrate, but tomorrow – tomorrow starts the real work of restoring America’s strength,” she said. “And my mission over the next two years is to work every day to restore that strong economy, and restore that strength in our border, and restore that strength in our communities, and restore our strength on the world stage.”


While Kiggans’ victory was an important one for Republicans in a race considered a bellweather for the party’s national prospects, two other highly competitive races in Virginia targeting seats held by two-term congresswomen did not go the GOP’s way.

In Virginia’s 7th Congressional District, Rep. Abigail Spanberger declared victory over former police officer and Prince William County supervisor Yesli Vega, a conservative pro-lifer who if successful would have become the first representative of Salvarodan origin in the House.

Spanberger was leading Vega by 51.9 to 48.1 points, with 98 percent of precincts reporting.

Spanberger, a former CIA officer, won the seat in 2018, defeating GOP Rep. Dave Brat in a district that had been held until 2014 by seven-term veteran and Republican House Majority Leader Eric Cantor.

In Virginia’s 10th Congressional District, Vietnamese-American Hung Cao, a 25-year U.S. Navy veteran, lost his bid to unseat two-term Democratic Rep. Jennifer Wexton.

With 98 percent of precincts reporting, Wexton was leading Cao by 52.9 points to 47.1. FiveThirtyEight had earlier forecast a ten-point Wexton win.

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