Starting this year, I am making brief recommendations for voters in all contested local races in Loudoun County, Virginia, and all contested state- and federal-level races in Virginia. These are in addition to the more in-depth, long-form endorsement articles for each race that appears on my own ballot.
Recommendations appear below for nine of Virginia’s eleven seats in the U.S. House of Representatives. Excluded is the Third District, which is uncontested, and the Tenth District, which is my own district and is therefore covered by a long-form endorsement. Additionally, there is a special election for the Eighth District of the Virginia House of Delegates.
U.S. House of Representatives
All seats in the U.S. House of Representatives are up for election every two years. There are 435 seats, representing each of the fifty states in rough proportion to their population as recorded in the most recent national census. There are an additional six non-voting delegate seats representing U.S. territories and the District of Columbia.
The Republican Party currently holds a 235-193 majority over the Democratic Party in the House, and seven seats are vacant. Virginia has eleven seats in the House, with seven held by Republicans and four held by Democrats.
Virginia’s First District
Virginia’s First District encompasses the far southern suburbs of Washington, DC, the Northern Neck, the Middle Peninsula, and part of the Virginia Peninsula. It is currently represented by Representative Rob Wittman (R-VA 1st), who is seeking reelection for a sixth term, and is being challenged by Vangie Williams (D).
Wittman is a strong, but pragmatic, conservative congressman, who has voted correctly on most of the key issues to come before him. He is a strong defender of human rights, limited government, immigration enforcement, and economic growth. Williams, for her part, takes a reasonable position on improving “ObamaCare,” and is less antagonistic to the right to keep and bear arms than most in her party, but does not acknowledge the right to life and is silent about religious freedom.
I applaud Williams for being a more humble, rational Democrat than most of the others on our ballots this year, but Wittman is still the better choice. I recommend that voters in the First District reelect incumbent Rob Wittman.
Virginia’s Second District
Virginia’s Second District encompasses the Eastern Shore, Virginia Beach, and parts of Norfolk and the Virginia Peninsula. It is currently represented by Representative Scott Taylor (R-VA 2nd), who is seeking reelection for a second term, and is challenged by Elaine Luria (D).
Taylor is a center-right Republican and his record in Congress is somewhat mixed. He has generally voted correctly on the key human rights and civil liberty issues that have come before him, but has been a pragmatic centrist in other areas. Luria is a typical member of today’s Democratic Party, which has shifted far to the left. She opposes or would seriously limit most of the key human rights—to life, to religion, to keep and bear arms, and more—and seems entirely uninterested in cutting spending, balancing the budget, or limiting the size and breadth of the federal government.
Though Taylor is not always reliably conservative, he is certainly the lesser of two evils. I recommend that voters in the Second District reelect incumbent Scott Taylor.
Virginia’s Third District
Virginia’s Third District encompasses the cities of Newport News and Portsmouth, parts of Norfolk, and parts of South Hampton Roads. It is currently represented by Representative Bobby Scott (D), who is seeking reelection unopposed. I do not make recommendations in uncontested races.
Virginia’s Fourth District
Virginia’s Fourth District encompasses the southeastern area of the State, running from the western suburbs of Richmond, around the city to the south, and then off into the Hampton Roads area. It is currently represented by Representative Donald McEachin (D-VA 4th), who is seeking reelection for a second term, and is challenged by Ryan McAdams (R) and Pete Wells (L).
McEachin is a doctrinaire modern Democrat who is opposed to the right to life, religious liberty, and the right to keep and bear arms. He has been wrong on nearly every issue to come before him. McAdams holds reasonable, conservative views on federalism and is right about these fundamental human rights that remain under threat. Wells, like most Libertarians, is right about a great many things, but wrong about the right to life, which is the most important thing.
I recommend that voters in the Fourth District choose Ryan McAdams.
Virginia’s Fifth District
Virginia’s Fifth District is the commonwealth’s largest district, encompassing a large part of the border region with North Carolina and running all the way to Fauquier County in Northern Virginia. In its narrower northern stretches, it roughly follows U.S. Route 29. It is currently represented by Representative Tom Garrett (R-VA 5th), who is not seeking reelection. Leslie Cockburn (D) and Denver Riggleman (R) are vying for the open seat.
Cockburn is yet another doctrinaire Democrat who is largely in-line with the increasingly hard-left national party. She denies the right to life, supports unreasonable restrictions on the right to keep and bear arms, supports a broad, unrestricted federal government, and opposes the tax cuts that are beginning to reinvigorate our economy. Riggleman, for his part, is largely correct on these and other issues. He acknowledges the right to life, supports tax cuts, wants to defend the border, and supports property rights.
I recommend that voters in the Fifth District choose Denver Riggleman.
Virginia’s Sixth District
Virginia’s Sixth District encompasses much of the westernmost border area of the state, running up the Interstate 81 corridor through the Shenandoah Valley from Roanoke to Strasburg. It is currently represented by Representative Bob Goodlatte (R-VA 6th), who is retiring at the end of his current term. Delegate Ben Cline (R-VA 24th) and Jennifer Lewis (D) are vying for the open seat.
Cline has been a consistent and principled conservative during his time in the Virginia House of Delegates. He staunchly defends human rights, including the right to life, freedom of religion, and the right to keep and bear arms. He supports low-tax, business friendly policies, and has been a strong proponent of transparent, accountable governance. Lewis, for her part, is another typical modern Democrat, with big-government at the center of her policy proposals, misguided views on the rights of corporations (which are literally just groups of people), and disdain or indifference toward the right to life and other human rights.
I recommend that voters in the Sixth District choose Ben Cline.
Virginia’s Seventh District
Virginia’s Seventh District encompasses an area of central Virginia running diagonally from Culpeper in the northwest nearly all the way to the Hampton Roads region. It also wraps around the western and northern sides of Richmond and encompasses several of that city’s suburbs. It is currently represented by Representative Dave Brat (R-VA 7th), who is seeking reelection for a third term, and is challenged by Abigail Spanberger (D) and Joseph Walton (L).
Brat is a staunch conservative, and votes correctly on most issues that come before him in Congress. He consistently defends the fundamental human rights, including the right to life, freedom of religion, and the right to keep and bear arms. He supports strict limits on the power of the federal government, fiscal responsibility, a balanced budget, low taxes, and a repeal of the disastrous “ObamaCare” health reform bill.
Spanberger denies the right to life but is less antagonistic toward gun rights than many in her party. On most of the other issues, she might be labeled “center left.” Walton, for his part, is a moderate Libertarian. He, sadly, denies the right to life, but is pretty much in the middle regarding foreign relations and military force, and takes reasonable positions on most other major issues.
I recommend that voters in the Seventh District reelect Dave Brat, but I must also note that citizens in the district are lucky to have three worthy candidates on their ballots, all of whom appear to be serious, capable, and independent-minded.
Virginia’s Eighth District
Virginia’s Eighth District is an urban district in Northern Virginia that encompasses Arlington County, parts of Fairfax County, and the cities of Alexandria and Falls Church. It is currently represented by Representative Don Beyer (D-VA 8th), who is seeking reelection for a third term, and is challenged by Thomas Oh (R).
Beyer is one of the more radical left-wing members of Congress and has been wrong on nearly all the major issues to come before him. He denies the right to life, supports unconstitutional restrictions on religious liberty, wants to trample the right to keep and bear arms, and more. He supports high taxes, an intrusive federal government, and open borders. All-in-all, he’s an embarrassment to his district and the entire commonwealth.
Oh, for his part, is a moderate Republican. He takes a tepid position on the right to life and a stronger (but still mixed) position on the right to keep and bear arms. But he is strong on reducing taxes and plots a reasonable, middle-of-the-road course on immigration. And, frankly, it would be very hard for him to be worse than Beyer even if he tried.
I recommend that voters in the Eighth District choose Thomas Oh.
Virginia’s Ninth District
Virginia’s Ninth District encompasses the far southwestern area of the State, running through the deep Appalachian region from the western side of Roanoke all the way out to the Cumberland Gap where Virginia ends and Kentucky and Tennessee meet. It is currently represented by Representative Morgan Griffith (R-VA 9th), who is seeking reelection to a fifth term, and is challenged by Anthony Flaccavento (D).
Griffith has been a solid but pragmatic conservative during his time in Congress. He has consistently defended human rights, including the right to life, the freedom of religion, and the right to keep and bear arms. He supports strong immigration enforcement, low taxes, and a reduction in the scope and breadth of government. Flaccavento is wrong on each of these issues, with the notable exception of his general support for the right to keep and bear arms. For this he should be applauded, but it is not enough to change the conclusion.
I recommend that voters in the Ninth District reelect incumbent Morgan Griffith.
Virginia’s Tenth District
Please refer to the full Off on a Tangent endorsement article.
Virginia’s Eleventh District
Virginia’s Eleventh District encompasses much of Fairfax County, part of Prince William County, and the City of Fairfax. It runs from Dulles Airport in the northwest, down through Fairfax and Burke, then south along the I-95 corridor all the way to Dumfries. It is currently represented by Representative Gerry Connolly (D-VA 11th), who is seeking reelection for a sixth term, and is challenged by Jeff Dove Jr. (R) and Stevan Porter (L).
Connolly, who was a reasonable, measured, and intelligent Chairman of the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors, quickly aligned himself with the most radical, leftist wing of the Democratic Party after the people of the Eleventh District sent him to Congress. He is wrong about nearly every issue, especially including the right to life, freedom of religion, and the right to keep and bear arms, but also taxes, immigration, and the scope and breadth of the federal government.
Dove, for his part, is a pretty standard-issue conservative, who is right about most human rights issues and supports low taxes and business-friendly policies. Porter is also a pretty standard-issue representative of his party, the Libertarians, with the notable (and laudable) exception that he acknowledges the right to life.
It is difficult to choose between Dove and Porter, who are both worthy possible successors to Connolly’s embarrassing tenure in Congress. But in the end, Dove is more likely to pursue reasonable policies on immigration and foreign policy. I recommend that voters in the Eleventh District choose Jeff Dove Jr.
Virginia House of Delegates (Special Election)
A special election is being held to fill a vacancy representing the Eighth District in the Virginia House of Delegates. Delegates are normally elected to two-year terms, but the winner of this special election would only serve the remaining one year of the current term. There are one hundred districts across the commonwealth. Today, the Republican Party holds a narrow 50-49 majority over the Democratic Party in the House, and one seat is vacant.
The Eighth District encompasses Montgomery County, Craig County, and the cities of Roanoke and Salem. It was represented by Delegate Greg Habeeb (R-VA 8th), who resigned in August. Roanoke County Supervisor Joseph McNamera (R-Windsor Hills) and Carter Turner (D) are vying for the open seat.
McNamera is a typical conservative Republican, taking strong positions in favor of human rights including the right to life, freedom of religion, and the right to keep and bear arms. He promises to work to lower taxes, reduce unnecessary state government programs, and enact business-friendly policies.
Turner denies the right to life, and has been largely silent about where he stands on other human rights. And though he talks a good game about making major improvements to I-81, he is vague about how they might be paid for and has even floated the idea of a commercial vehicle toll . . . because I guess Virginia doesn’t have enough stupid toll roads that nobody wanted.
I recommend that voters in the Eighth District choose Joseph McNamera.