Elaine Luria, running in the 2nd Congressional District of Virginia
|Elaine Luria with her family|
The 2nd CD of Virginia encompasses all of Accomack and Northampton counties and the city of Virginia Beach -- the largest city in Virginia -- and parts of the cities of Norfolk and Hampton. It includes the HDQs of Pat Robertson's Christian Broadcasting Network.
Incumbent Republican: Scott Taylor is in his first term in what is considered a safe Republican district. Taylor easily beat his Democratic opponent in 2016. He was previously a member of the Virginia House of Delegates, and perhaps more important for a Congressional district that includes large naval installations, he was a Navy SEAL and served in Operation Iraqi Freedom. Politico gave him an admiring write-up for the masterful way he could handle a hostile audience at one of his town halls. If both Luria and Taylor win their respective primaries (and, yes, there's a raft of Democrats running), then it'll be Navy veteran (man) v. Navy veteran (female) in the general election. Game on!
Elaine Luria joined the Navy at the age of 17. Michael Tackett profiles her in today's New York Times. Luria chose to focus on surface warfare at the Naval Academy, rose to commander rank, and served for 20 years before retiring. "Luria said that she felt the pull to run for office after Mr. Trump’s election, and that her husband quit his job to help take over household duties so she could focus on campaigning .... she had earned a black belt in taekwondo, passed all the required endurance tests and flourished in the classroom .... After the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, she said, she felt compelled to stay in the Navy. She had a letter of resignation stuck in her desk, but never submitted it." Luria has the backing of the DCCC (Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee), which is useful ($$$).
Mikie Sherrill, running in the 11th Congressional District of New Jersey
|Mikie Sherrill and her family|
The 11th CD of New Jersey has been considered a Republican district. Trump won the district by less than a percentage point in 2016, but last fall the 11th experienced an astounding "blue wave," with 39 insurgent Democrats winning races for seats on boards of education, municipal councils and freeholder boards. The 11th also went for Democratic governor candidate Phil Murphy.
Incumbent Republican Rodney Frelinghuysen just announced yesterday that he would not run again, making this an open seat. Frelinghuysen, considered one of the Republican moderates and also considered one of the most endangered Republicans in 2018, had been refusing to face his constituents (many of whom were angry that he was voting with Trump) at a public town hall. The entry of Mikie Sherrill into the race may have tipped Frelinghuysen into retirement.
Mikie Sherrill is not only a graduate of Annapolis (served as a Navy helicopter pilot) but she is also a former federal prosecutor and the mother of four. She also has the strong backing of the DCCC, and according to Michael Tackett, she is favored to win her primary. She has focused her criticism of Trump on the new tax law and on Trump's effort to weaken the Affordable Care Act. She says she is simply “fed up” with the president’s agenda. “I talked to friends and thought if we broke through our own glass ceilings, we would progress, yet we now see again and again we simply haven’t made the gains we thought we made. My children’s future is in peril.”