VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. — Polls open for the special election for Virginia's 7th Senate District on Tuesday morning at 6 a.m.
Two candidates are on the ballot: Virginia Beach city councilmember and former NFL player Aaron Rouse, and retired Navy Lt. Commander Kevin Adams.
They're vying for the seat that used to belong to Jen Kiggans who now represents Virginia's 2nd Congressional District in Washington.
Abortion access is a hot topic in this race.
“I’m pro-life and I really believe that we should have programs that take care of women,” Adams said. “Less abortions is better.”
If Adams wins this seat, Democrats will hold a slim majority in the state Senate: 21 to 19. If pro-life Democratic Senator Joe Morrissey votes with Republicans on abortion restrictions, that would leave the Senate in a 20-20 tie with Republican Lt. Governor Winsome Sears as the tie-breaker.
“We got to make sure that we protect women’s reproductive healthcare in our state of Virginia and our Commonwealth and send a message to our nation that Virginia is going to be a leader in protecting women’s rights,” Rouse said.
Republican Governor Glenn Youngkin has said he would support a 15-week abortion ban with exceptions for rape, incest, and the life of the mother. Youngkin has already called on lawmakers to introduce legislation restriction abortion access.
Adams’ campaign has focused on the economy, public safety, and supporting veterans.
“This seat is absolutely necessary,” Adams said. “We gotta hold this seat so we can work next year to get a majority in the General Assembly.”
Rouse has campaigned on supporting public education, the economy, and protecting abortion rights.
“This is very critical. There’s a sense of urgency in this special election,” Rouse said. “There’s a sense of urgency in making sure that women can breathe easy at night knowing and understanding they have a champion at the state level that’s going to protect their rights.”
On Monday Adams campaigned alongside law enforcement, hosting a cookout at the Virginia Beach Police Benevolent Association. Rouse, meanwhile, is hosting a rally at 6:30 p.m. at the Sandler Center for Performing Arts in Virginia Beach.