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Vega, Kiggans win Congressional primaries

Virginia voters have picked a state senator and a law enforcement official as the Republican nominees for what could be two of the country’s most competitive U.S. House races.

Jen Kiggans defeated three challengers to win the nomination in Virginia’s coastal 2nd District and will take on U.S. Rep. Elaine Luria.

And Yesli Vega, an auxiliary deputy and county-level elected official, prevailed in a crowded field in the central Virginia 7th District. Vega will face Rep. Abigail Spanberger in the general election, where Republicans are bullish about their chances of flipping the seats currently held by the two centrist Democrats.

Quentin Kidd at Christopher Newport University says Vega's victory in the 7th Congressional District was the result of a late surge. "She all but embraced everything that Donald Trump stood for and all of the messages that the Trump base cares about without embracing Donald Trump the person."

Vega had the support of former Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli, U.S. Senator Ted Cruz, Texas Congressman Louie Gohmert and Ginni Thomas, wife of Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas. Stephen Farnsworth at the University of Mary Washington says she was able to use those big name endorsements to win against state Senator Bryce Reeves and first-time candidate Derrick Anderson. "Vega's very aggressive effort of courting very conservative voices in Virginia and nationally really paid off here."

Complete results from the Virginia Dept. of Elections

Two incumbent Congressmen were also able to beat back primary challengers last night, Democrat Don Beyer in Northern Virginia and Republican Ben Cline in the Shenandoah Valley.

Terry Namkung won the Republican primary and will challenge Representative Bobby Scott in the 3rd Congressional District.

There were a few local primaries, as well. In Roanoke City, Joe Cobb, Vivian Sanchez-Jones and Peter Volosin will represent the Democratic Party in November's council election.

This report, provided by Virginia Public Radio, was made possible with support from the Virginia Education Association.

Michael Pope is an author and journalist who lives in Old Town Alexandria.
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