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The impact of the January 6th committee on Virginia's 2nd Congressional District race

Capitol Riot Investigation
Jacquelyn Martin
Committee member Rep. Elaine Luria, D-Va., greets Steven Engel, former Assistant Attorney General for the Office of Legal Counsel, at the end of House select committee investigating the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol hearing at the Capitol in Washington, Thursday, June 23, 2022. 

The January 6 Committee may end up influencing one of Virginia's congressional races this year.

Hampton Roads Congresswoman Elaine Luria is about to take a starring role in the January 6th Committee – leading a hearing that will focus on what Donald Trump was doing on the day of the insurrection.

Quentin Kidd at Christopher Newport University says that might end up influencing her campaign against Republican challenger Jen Kiggans.

"The story about January 6th is going to come out in a way that is likely to make Jen Kiggans not necessarily want to spend a lot of time trying to defend it on the campaign trail, and alternatively Elaine Luria will have played a star role in writing that narrative," Kidd explains.

For Kiggans, an important part of her narrative is her record in the state Senate, where she voted in favor of a $70 million audit of the 2020 election. Here’s Stephen Farnsworth at the University of Mary Washington.

"The audit question will be a millstone hung around her neck," Farnsworth says. "Even in the most fantastical interpretations of the 2020 election, Virginia was not anywhere near a state that was close, and that partisan vote won't help her with voters who are not reflexively Republican."

Luria's starring role in the upcoming committee hearing could end up revealing some of the most explosive details yet, so the dynamics around the campaign between Luria and Kiggans might end up changing quite a bit heading into the fall election season.

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.