Tight Congressional Races Draw Voters’ Attention in Virginia

Dorothy and Richard Cannon stand outside an early voting site in Norfolk, Va. on Wednesday, Oct. 28, 2020. They said they voted for Joe Biden in part because of their concerns about the cost of health insurance. (AP Photo/Ben Finley)

By Associated Press

November 3, 2020

It’s not just the presidential election on tap today. Three competitive U.S. House races are also vying for Virginia voters’ attention.

RICHMOND — Three competitive U.S. House races are vying for Virginia voters’ attention along with the presidential race and a U.S. Senate seat.

Much is different this election, thanks in large part to the coronavirus pandemic and new voting laws that made it easier to vote early. More than 2.7 million voters have already cast ballots, which is more than two-thirds of the total overall voter turnout from four years ago in Virginia.

Dorothy and Richard Cannon, who voted early in Norfolk, said they chose Democratic former Vice President Joe Biden for president, in part because of their concerns about the cost of health insurance. They said they believe Biden will work to make it more affordable.

“It’s like half my check for me and him to have insurance,” said Dorothy Cannon, 49, who works in sales. “It’s like I’m working to have insurance.”

Tom Redford, 79, waited in a line of more than 200 people Thursday to cast his ballot for Republican President Donald Trump at an early-voting location in Henrico County, just outside Richmond.

“I don’t like him personally, but everything he’s done is great — everything, including what he’s done on the coronavirus,” Redford said.

In the Senate race, U.S. Sen. Mark Warner is running for reelection against Daniel Gade, a little-known Republican challenger.

Two of the state’s competitive House seats were flipped from Republican to Democratic in 2018 amid a “blue wave.” Those contests are a test of whether the trend has staying power.

Democratic U.S. Rep. Abigail Spanberger is working to fend off Republican challenger Nick Freitas in the 7th Congressional District, a Richmond-area seat, while Democratic Rep. Elaine Luria is in a rematch with Republican former Rep. Scott Taylor for a Hampton Roads-seat in the 2nd Congressional District. Spanberger and Luria are part of a group of moderate Democrats who came to Congress with deep military and intelligence experience. Their credentials were instrumental in pushing the House to impeach Trump over allegations that he pressured Ukraine to investigate Biden.

The 5th Congressional District, a reliably GOP district in the western part of the state, has been closely watched as a potential bellwether. Republican Bob Good ousted incumbent Rep. Denver Riggleman in a GOP primary, in part because of Riggleman’s support for gay marriage. Good is running against Democrat Cameron Webb, a Black doctor with a law degree, who is hoping to flip the seat in the Trump-friendly district.

Voters will also decide a referendum that puts next year’s redistricting in Virginia in the hands of a bipartisan commission. If successful, the commission of citizens and legislators will redraw the state’s congressional and General Assembly districts to conform with the 2020 Census.

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