Virginia's 2nd District: Tightest congressional race in the country?

(The Center Square) – With Nov. 8 a mere 47 days away and Republicans vying to flip control of the U.S. House of Representatives, Virginia’s 2nd District may be one of the tightest races in the country.

Rep. Elaine Luria, the district’s Democratic incumbent, is trying to hold off a competitive challenge from Republican challenger, state Sen. Jen Kiggans.

FiveThirtyEight, which provides polling and election analysis, has the race tied – closest in the country. The website’s model gives both candidates a 50% chance of winning. It is one of two races that is evenly split down the middle.

Other models are also listing the 2nd District as a tossup. Sabato’s Crystal Ball at the University of Virginia’s Center for Politics lists the race as one of 25 toss-ups and the Cook Political Report lists it as one of 31 toss-ups. Politico and most other forecasters agree.

“Democratic Rep. Elaine Luria is one of her party's most endangered members,” Politico election reporter Steve Shepard wrote in his company’s analysis. “Her redrawn Tidewater district went for President Joe Biden by just 3 points in 2020. Republicans are hopeful that state Sen. Jen Kiggans can be the candidate to unseat Luria, who has defeated scandal-plagued former Rep. Scott Taylor in back-to-back elections.”

Although the district narrowly supported Biden in 2020, its voters supported Republican Gov. Glenn Youngkin in 2021.

Even though she represents a swing district, Luria has mostly toed the party line. She has voted in line with Biden on 99% of issues and only voted with former President Donald Trump on 11% of issues, according to FiveThirtyEight trackers. Her notable moments have been the only endangered Democrat to serve on the Jan. 6 House investigation committee; cosponsored legislation to establish a federal assault weapons ban; and voted in favor of raising the minimum wage to $15 per hour.

One area in which Luria has broken from her party is foreign policy. In June, she was the lone Democrat to oppose a resolution that would have repealed the authorization of the use of force in Iraq. When she ran for office, she vowed to never take money from political action committees, but later accepted donations from defense contractors and tobacco companies.

Kiggans has served in the Virginia Senate for nearly three years. She voted in favor of tax cuts and the creation of lab schools in the recent state budget and supported legislation that requires Virginia schools to report sexual battery from students. She also backed a bill that would allow parents to opt their children out of sexually explicit course material in the public school system and voted against a bill that would have ended most of the state’s mandatory minimum laws.

During her campaign, Kiggans has vowed to oppose gun control and received an endorsement from the National Rifle Association. She has said she would fight inflation by opposing large spending plans and supports lowering taxes to encourage business growth.

Democrats hold narrow control of the House. Many models predict that Republicans should be able to flip enough seats to gain control of the chamber.

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