As we prepare for the 2020 elections, Yesh Ginsburg and Steen Kirby will give a general overview of all 435 United States House of Representatives races. This is a basic overview to introduce you to the major candidates. All Partisan Lean numbers are taken from the Cook Partisan Voting Index. We will update this page as the races progress if anything noteworthy arises.

Virginia has 11 Congressional Districts. Four are controlled by Republicans and seven by Democrats in this blue-shifting state. We’ll discuss the first five districts in this article–three of them are currently held by Democrats and two by Republicans. We’ll discuss the other six districts in a separate article.

Virginia’s 1st Congressional District

Incumbent: Rob Wittman (Republican, sixth term)

Partisan Lean: R+8

2018 Results:

Candidate Votes %
Rob Wittman (R) 183,250 55.18
Vangie Williams (D) 148,464 44.7

2016 Results:

Candidate Votes %
Rob Wittman (R) 230,213 59.86
Matt Rowe (D) 140,785 36.61
Glenda Parker (I) 12,866 3.35

Republican Candidate:

Rob Wittman (campaign website)

Wittman is a fiscal conservative, and one of the supporters of the bipartisan “no budget no pay” notion. He pushes increased infrastructure spending, as well as free market solutions for healthcare. He is in favor of building the wall, but–rare for a Republican–he also supports certain restrictions to keep guns out of the hands of the potentially violent.

Democratic Candidate:

Qasim Rashid (campaign website)

Rashid is an author and activist who is trying to run for Congress after an unsuccessful attempt at State Senate last election. He is a progressive Democrat, in favor of Medicare for All and a Green New Deal, as well as other detailed progressive policy proposals.

Virginia’s 2nd Congressional District

Incumbent: Elaine Luria (Democratic, first term)

Partisan Lean: R+3

2018 Results:

Candidate Votes %
Elaine Luria (D) 139,571 51.05
Scott Taylor (R) 33,458 48.81

2016 Results:

Candidate Votes %
Scott Taylor (R) 190,475 61.33
Shaun Brown (D) 119,440 38.46

Republican Candidate:

Scott Taylor (campaign website)

Taylor is trying to win back this seat that he lost in 2018, but it won’t be easy. He is nowhere near as well funded and being handily outspent. Taylor’s main campaign point seems to be focusing on the claim that while Luria won the district two years ago as a moderate, her voting record is far more liberal. Whether this message resonates is another question entirely.

Democratic Candidate:

Elaine Luria (campaign website)

Luria is a relatively moderate Democrat, focusing on raising the minimum wage and her bipartisan record and policy goals. She is also touting her record in Congress so far, as well as pushing for expanded use of nuclear power.

Virginia’s 3rd Congressional District

Incumbent: Bobby Scott (Democratic, 14th term)

Partisan Lean: D+16

2018 Results:

Candidate Votes %
Bobby Scott (D) 198,615 91.22
Write-ins 19,107 8.78

2016 Results:

Candidate Votes %
Bobby Scott (D) 208,337 66.7
Marty Williams (R) 103,289 33.07

Republican Candidate:

John Collick (campaign website)

Collick is a generally conservative Republican who has somewhat unique proposals regarding massive immigration reform. He is also arguing strongly for school choice and several general education reforms.

Democratic Candidate:

Bobby Scott (campaign website)

Scott is well-liked and respected, and easily holds down this district. He is a consistent Democratic vote in Congress.

Virginia’s 4th Congressional District

Incumbent: Donald McEachin (Democratic, second term)

Partisan Lean: D+10

2018 Results:

Candidate Votes %
Donald McEachin (D) 187,642 62.58
Ryan McAdams (R) 107,706 35.92

2016 Results:

Candidate Votes %
Donald McEachin (D) 200,136 57.73
Mike Wade (R) 145,731 42.04

Republican Candidate:

Leon Benjamin (campaign website)

Benjamin is spending some serious money in this race to try and make an impression. He’s focusing on school choice and creating Opportunity Zones in this district that is over 40% Black. He is otherwise focusing on fighting policies that he says are pushing too far to the left.

Democratic Candidate:

Donald McEachin (campaign website)

McEachin is a consistent Democratic vote in this safe Democratic district. He has been well-liked and successful in his two terms in the district, and there’s no reason to expect that not to continue.

Virginia’s 5th Congressional District

Incumbent: Denver Riggleman (Republican, first term)

Partisan Lean: R+6

2018 Results:

Candidate Votes %
Denver Riggleman (R) 165,339 53.18
Leslie Cockburn (D) 145,040 46.65

2016 Results:

Candidate Votes %
Tom Garrett (R) 207,758 58.23
Jane Dittmar (D) 148,339 41.58

Republican Candidate:

Bob Good (campaign website)

Good ousted Riggleman in a hotly-contested and highly-controversial convention (not primary), with limited and difficult voting far closer to Good’s area of support than Riggleman’s. Unlike Riggleman’s more moderate message in this blue-shifting district, Good is pushing hardline conservative culture issues, including a recent series of rallies to support law enforcement. He is also focusing on his past successes at cutting government spending.

Democratic Candidate:

Cameron Webb (campaign website)

Webb is a doctor, running on a public option for healthcare, along with several other government-based tactics to reduce healthcare costs. He wants to have the U.S. on 100% clean energy, and is pursuing tax plans to make housing easier. Webb is well-funded and making a serious run at this district, something made much easier by Good’s convention win.

Overview

Democrats control three of the seats. The 2nd District is expected to be a battleground, and with Good on the ballot instead of Riggleman, expect the 5th to be one as well.

Interested in the rest of our primers for other House races? We have them all listed on our primer home page.

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