With the 2020 state congressional elections completed and incumbent Democratic Representative Elaine Luria (D-VA-02) having defeated Republican challenger Scott Taylor, conservative hopefuls must now look toward 2022 when the 2nd District seat will again be up for grabs.
Securing her second term in the U.S. House of Representatives, Luria handily beat Taylor by just under six percentage points and received nearly 21,000 more votes, according to the Virginia Department of Elections.
Even though the race is two years away, it is never too early to start thinking about and looking at who might face off against Luria.
Dennis E. Free, Chairman of the 2nd Congressional District Committee for the Republican Party of Virginia Beach, said: “I think what we want to look for is, we want to look for a candidate who can offer a vision of improvement. I really do think there is a frustration with the normal course of business in politics. I have seen that frustration and I don’t discount it.”
There are several candidates who may fit Free’s description, one of those being Navy veteran Jarome Bell, who finished third in this year’s 2nd District Republican primary behind former state Senate candidate Ben Loyola and Taylor.
Bell told The Virginia Star that he is leaning toward running again, but has not fully committed to it yet nor has he made any sort of announcement.
“I thought I was the best candidate to unseat Elaine Luria prior to this election.” Bell said in an interview. “And I still think people in the 2nd District need a person that is [actually] going to represent them.”
“It’s always tough to unseat an incumbent,” Bell added.
Even though he did not get the chance to run against Luria, Bell said he learned a lot from his short campaign and by watching what Taylor did. Specifically, Bell mentioned that defending and never wavering on positions as well as being steadfast on campaign pledges were two things he took away from the experience.
“If I make this announcement, we’re going to give ourselves a longer runway,” Bell said. “Because we don’t know what’s going to happen, but we’re going to give ourselves a longer runway to gain support, to build up an army of a team and raise more money.”
When asked about running for the 2nd District, Del. Glenn Davis (R-Virginia Beach) – who announced a bid for lieutenant governor earlier this fall – said he was not considering the 2022 congressional race because he enjoys serving Virginians at the state level.
“I’ve been asked numerous times over the years to consider running for Congress and while I appreciate people’s support, I tell them that my passion is to focus on Virginia and bring back our economy, jobs and an equal opportunity for education across the Commonwealth,” Davis told The Star.
Davis also brought up first-year Sen. Jen Kiggans (R-Virginia Beach) while discussing people that may end up running. The Star made several attempts to contact Kiggans, but did not get a response by press time.
Another potential candidate is fellow Virginia Beach legislator Sen. Bill DeSteph (R). DeSteph, who has served in the General Assembly since 2013, also said he has not considered running, but did not completely rule out the possibility.
“As of right now, I’m content with my position in the Senate,” DeSteph said.
Despite a narrow list of prospect candidates right now, others will begin to emerge as 2022 gets closer by the day.
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