VIRGINIA BEACH A Virginia Beach businessman formally announced plans Monday to run against Congressman Scott Rigell in November for the 2nd District Congressional seat.
Democrat Paul Hirschbiel officially launched his campaign at the Virginia Beach campus of Tidewater Community College.
The 2nd District includes Virginia Beach and parts of the Eastern Shore, Hampton and Norfolk. National Democrats have targeted the 2nd District as one that can be turned from Republican to Democratic this November, despite the fact that for 28 of the last 44 years, it has been held by the GOP.
Hirschbiel says there's simply too much gridlock in Congress, it's become dysfunctional, and he'll go to Washington and seek bipartisan solutions.
During Monday's kickoff ceremony, Hirschbiel never mentioned Republican incumbent Scott Rigell by name.
'I've worked for the last 14 years, working issues in a very bipartisan way. I believe i bring that to Congress and I don't believe my opponent does,' Hirschbiel stated.
Fellow Democrat, Senator Mark Warner said Hirschbiel's brand of bipartisanship is what's needed now.
'I think he'll go to Washington and be a real independent voice,' said Warner.
As Hirschbiel kicked off his campaign, Rigell was in Nebraska meeting with billionaire investor and philanthropist Warren Buffett to discuss the nation's tax policy and debt. Rigell's senior political advisor says opening such dialogue proves the incumbent is the kind of independent leader the 2nd District needs.
'I think it's leadership by example, and he's looking to work across the aisle and get both parties, Republicans and Democrats to say 'You know what, Washington needs to be fixed.' He's working every day for the people down here of Hampton Roads to do that,' said Jason Miyares, a political consultant for Rigell.