Welcome to my diary series titled Majority Savers! I will run a new article every Tuesday, Friday, and Saturday. The goal of this series is to highlight races that may make or break our current slender majorities in Congress. That means I will start more with incumbent Senators and House members until some primary elections are settled. If I have time, I will expand it to governors as well in critical swing states.
If you want to find my previous entries in this series, I recommend following me or searching for Majority Savers as a tag!
I have six ground rules behind the philosophy of this series. I’d ask you all to respect them as best you can, because these are taking me quite a long time to write. Here are my ground rules.
This incumbent ousted a corrupt GOP member who tried to employ electoral chicanery against her in 2018. Now, she faces the political fight of her life in a more conservative district. Today, Majority Savers heads to Virginia’s 2nd district to highlight Rep. Elaine Luria!
This section isn’t meant to be a biography of Rep. Luria, which can actually be found here. Instead, I pull out the 2-3 highlights from her life before Congress that I feel make her an excellent fit for the 2nd district of Virginia.
- She grew up in the Deep South in Birmingham, Alabama as the daughter of a mother and grandmother very active in the Jewish community. She still is a practicing member of the Jewish faith to this day.
- She graduated from the Naval Academy in 1997 and was responsible for taking care of nuclear reactors as an engineer in the US Navy. That’s a super responsible job that not any mere mortal can do.
- After retiring from the Navy in 2017, she opened a small business in the Hampton Roads area selling arts and crafts featuring the symbols (especially mermaids) of the area. Her business was a modest success and created quite a few jobs and taxes in the area.
Rep. Elaine Luria has a DW Nominate score of -0.198, which indicates a moderate voting record. She is more liberal than 52% of the full membership of the House in this session of Congress. However, she is more conservative than 93% of the Democratic caucus as currently represented in the House.
Hopefully you’ve picked up the fact that many of our vulnerable incumbents are of the “MORE Democrats” variety instead of the “better Democrats” variety. I have to make sure this is understood EVERY time I post about a moderate incumbent for a reason. They have permission to vote this way due to the lean of the district and not needing their vote to secure passage of the legislation in question. Without these “MORE Democrats”, the “better Democrats” would be a toothless and ignored minority in Congress. Besides, Luria emphasizes these key issues:
Climate Change: The Hampton Roads area is one of the most vulnerable to climate change and rising sea levels. Rep. Luria is a proponent of banning offshore drilling, as well as nuclear power as part of a solution to the climate crisis. She is consistently on our side when it comes to climate change issues, especially when it comes to upgrading the Navy to fight climate change.
Veterans and National Security: This is a requirement in such a military themed district as the 2nd district of Virginia. We can knock her for asking for increased military funding, but it is necessary to keep her job. Her work on helping disabled veterans and fixing an error in survivor benefits makes her acutely aware of the issues veterans face today.
Health Care: She has fought to keep the ACA intact against the ravages of TFG, and also looks to strengthen it by trying to have generic drugs replace prescription drugs as soon as possible. Luria is also pro-choice, which in a day and age where abortion rights are about to fall is important.
Recent Elections —
2020 President: Joe Biden (D) 50.0%, TFG (R-inc) 48.0%
2020 House: Elaine Luria (D-inc) 51.6%, Scott Taylor (R) 45.8%
2021 Governor: Glenn Youngkin (R) 55.1%, Terry McAuliffe (D) 44.2%
2022 Race Rating: Tossup
2022 PVI: R+3
This district has been a Republican leaning swing seat for most of my lifetime. The incumbents elected here tend to be on the moderate end for Democrats, and the conservative but not MAGA end for Republicans. The district also tends to toss out the incumbents during large wave elections, such as 2010 or 2018.
The 2nd district before redistricting was also the median district of the House, meaning that 217 districts are more liberal and 217 districts more conservative. That means that whomever wins the district usually controls the House of Representatives. That makes this district a good barometer of what may happen in 2022. It has not been calculated what the new median seat after redistricting is.
In recent presidential elections, Biden won the district in 2020 after TFG won it in 2016. Obama narrowly won it twice, but GW Bush easily carried the district twice. What is concerning for this election is that Glenn Youngkin easily carried the district during his successful governor run. While state wide races are a different animal from federal races, this is a sign of challenges ahead.
Political Tour of the District
The expanded 2nd district takes up Virginia’s portion of the Delmarva Peninsula. It crosses the bridge and scoops up Virginia Beach, which is home to many naval bases but also a recurring climate change based tidal flooding problem. The district continues by adding in Chesapeake, Suffolk, and now (after redistricting) rural communities even further west than the Hampton Roads area. This district will be bitterly contested for the entire decade.
Here’s where this race will be won in the 2nd district.
- Virginia Beach: This conservative big city is the anchor of the district, and it barely voted for Biden after voting for TFG in 2016. Youngkin easily won the city in his run, which shows that this swingy area is very elastic. Luria must convince the denizens of this big city that she is worth re-electing once again in a tough year for us, or she will lose.
- Chesapeake: The majority black precincts have mostly been carved out of the district, but it is important that Luria maintain the narrow Biden margin from 2020 in this city Once again, Youngkin cleaned up in this part of the district during his run, so the area is very swingy.
- Suffolk: The majority black precincts in this city have NOT been excised from the district ,so it is critical for Luria to run up the score in these precincts and do as well as possible throughout the rest of the city. Youngkin once again narrowed the margins in the city to a narrow loss. This cannot be allowed to happen.
Here’s where we need to keep the margins down, or we lose.
- Delmarva Peninsula: Northampton County is a swing county that Biden easily won and Youngkin narrowly won. Luria will have to hope the former happens even though the county is small. Accomack County, which is the more populated one, is blood red and the best hope is turnout is lower in the county than normal.
- Hampton Roads Exurbs: The independent city of Franklin does lean our way, and it will be important for Luria to find every vote possible in this city to offset the rest of this area. Both Isle of Wight and Southampton Counties are blood red counties that in a close race could tip the scale against Luria. We better hope that our people turnout more to overwhelm these areas.
Activism — Help How You Can!
Thankfully, Rep. Elaine Luria is a fundraising superstar. In Quarter 1, she raised $1.2 MILLION dollars for her bid to be re-elected. This is around three times as much as her likely GOP rivals raised in the quarter. There will obviously be dark money flooding the coffers of her opponent, but even in a market like the Hampton Roads, this amount could go a long ways.
Luria also has a significant cash on hand advantage over her GOP rivals. She has banked $3.16 MILLION while her rival has yet to break the million dollars cash on hand mark (her likeliest opponent Kiggans only has $593k on hand). With that in mind, I will include a link in case you wish to donate to her. She may need it for GOTV organizing!
DONATE TO REP. ELAINE LURIA HERE
The best way to volunteer for the campaign directly is to sign up on her campaign website at this time. The link is https://elaineforcongress.com/ and then click the Volunteer tab at the top of the site. Be aware that once you go down the road of volunteering, campaigns will never leave you alone.
If you don’t want to donate (prepare for the barrage of e-mails and texts asking for more), and volunteering isn’t your thing either, then you can choose to help amplify her message via social media. On Twitter, she has 38.4k followers, which is an amazing amount for a sophomore incumbent.
If you disdain the bird app and Facebook is more of your calling, you can choose to follow Luria at elaineforcongress.
Thank you for your continued support of Majority Savers. I hope closer to the election these articles get read by more and more people. We have plenty of vulnerable incumbents, but redistricting also gave us plenty of places to go on the offensive as well. Here’s to supporting important representatives such as Rep. Elaine Luria in our quest to keep control of Congress!