VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. — On Tuesday, June 21, Republicans in Virginia's 2nd Congressional District will pick someone to face off against Democrat Elaine Luria, who is looking to keep her seat in Congress for a third term.
There are four GOP candidates on the ballot in the June 21 primary election: Tommy Altman, Andy Baan, Jarome Bell and Jen Kiggans. Whoever wins the primary should expect a close election in November.
The Cook Political Report predicts that the race in Virginia's second congressional district will be one of the most competitive in the 2022 midterm elections, which historically sees the president's party lose seats in Congress.
While Luria won her 2018 election by two points and her 2020 election by nearly six points, her district became less favorable to Democrats after the lines were redrawn following the 2020 Census. The district encompasses Virginia Beach, Chesapeake, Suffolk, Franklin, Isle of Wight County and the Eastern Shore.
In Virginia's 2021 governor's election, Republican Glenn Youngkin won 55% of the vote within the redrawn district, compared to Democrat Terry McAullife's 44%, according to the Virginia Public Access Project (VPAP).
Before the primary election, here's what you need to know about the Republicans running:
All of the candidates are veterans
Altman is a disabled veteran of the United States Air Force Special Operations community who served in Afghanistan and Iraq. He and his wife own a tattoo shop in Virginia Beach.
Baan is an Iraq War veteran with a Bronze Star Medal, retired Navy Captain, former prosecutor, defense contractor program manager and cybersecurity consultant. He was selected as a Navy commanding officer six times. He got his bachelor's degree from Notre Dame, a law degree from Dickinson/Penn State, a master's in National Security and Strategic Studies from the Naval War College and a master's in Cybersecurity from Norfolk State University.
Bell studied at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University where he graduated with associate's and bachelor's degrees in professional aeronautics with a minor in management. He retired as a chief petty officer from the U.S. Navy after serving 27 years. He opened a small business that helps high school graduates obtain college athletic scholarships.
Kiggans is a member of the Virginia Senate (7th district) where she serves on several committees: local government, subcommittee on charters, general laws and technology, subcommittee on gaming, and rehabilitation and social services. She is a former Navy pilot and currently works as a nurse practitioner.
Their conservative priorities take center stage. And one candidate called for election fraud executions.
All of the candidates are running on priorities that have made headlines recently, including opposition to critical race theory (CRT) and abortion rights, as well as support for gun rights. They're also pushing back on what they believe is government overreach.
"We saw this during the COVID era- all the restrictions and economic devastation were the result of a government used to flexing power instead of respecting the lives, rights and liberties of its citizens," Altman wrote on his website.
That's something Baan is aligned with, saying mask and vaccine mandates are "about control." He also supports cutting taxes, government spending and regulations on business to make the United States more economically competitive.
"We’ve made it so hard for small business to succeed that so many would-be successful risktakers have become too scared to take that risk," Baan wrote on his campaign website.
Some of the issues Kiggans is running on are health care reform, lower taxes and regulatory burdens and opposition to transgender policies in schools.
“The liberal, one-party rule in Washington is destroying what makes America the greatest nation on earth," she wrote on her website. "Our values, our economy, and our families are all under attack by big government. I have the courage to fight back — and I will make sure Virginians get the results they deserve."
Bell is touting his support of former President Donald Trump. On his campaign website, Bell said he would carry the torch to "Make America Great Again in the United States House of Representatives."
Bell also called for an audit of the 2020 presidential election, echoing widely-debunked claims of "voting by illegal aliens, ballot harvesting, absentee ballot fraud and outright identify theft." Last September, he used his now-suspended Twitter account to express support for executing any officials he claimed were involved in the debunked fraud.
Kiggans has significantly outraised other GOP candidates, latest report shows
According to VPAP, Kiggans has raised the most money among Republican candidates with $1,099,741 as of March 31. Following her are Bell ($424,098), Altman ($188,654) and Baan ($23,289).
To see where the candidates are getting their money, 13News Now took a look at OpenSecrets data, which shows campaign contributions affiliated with different organizations.
For context, the organizations listed didn't donate directly. The money could have come from the organizations' PACs, their individual members or employees or owners and those individuals' immediate families.
Some of Kiggans' top donors were affiliated with Virginia Beach business Jes Foundation ($17,500), real estate company Robinson Development Group ($16,800), property management company Ripley Heatwole Company ($15,600) and law firm McGuireWoods LLP ($12,510).
Bell's top donors contributed much smaller amounts. The donors' affiliations include right-wing group Black America's PAC ($2,800), as well as businesses Pencor Services ($2,150), BMC Software ($2,000) and Carrier One ($2,000).
Some of Altman's donations were affiliated with financial advising group Cohen, Klingenstein & Marks ($5,800), hospitality company BQ Resorts ($5,800), cabinet maker Closet Factory ($5,000), Tennessee-based NGU Risk Management ($5,000) and Virginia Beach-based payroll company Payday ($5,000).
OpenSecrets lists only four top donors to Baan's campaign: Colorado-based Simply Good Foods Company ($2,900), real estate investor Aimco ($2,800), Classic Books of Virginia ($1,000) and conservative group Leadership Institute ($1,000).
WUSA9, 13News Now's sister station in Washington, contributed to this report.