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Virginia - 2nd District

Incumbent -- Scott Rigell (R) ; Defeated by Scott Rigell, R, in general election on November 2, 2010

Leans Republican
Race Ratings Key

Updated Oct. 14, 2010

After losing this military-heavy district in the Democratic wave of 2008, Republicans are keen on putting it back in their column. But it's difficult for Republicans to portray Nye as in lock step with party leaders because his voting record is among the most conservative in the Democratic Caucus.

Republicans are hitting Nye for his vote for the stimulus bill. But that line of attack is complicated since car dealer Scott Rigell's dealership sold more than 100 cars under the Cash for Clunkers program that was largely funded by the stimulus.

Rigell's combination of solid fundraising and personal wealth (he's put about $1 million of his own money into the race) assures that the Republican will have all the resources he needs.

Nye, a proven fundraiser during his first term, is emphasizing his record of tending to the concerns of military personnel, veterans and their families as a member of the Armed Services Committee.

Another plus for the Congressman is the presence on the November ballot of another Republican, Kenny Golden, the former chairman of the Republican Party in Virginia Beach. Golden is running as an Independent after leaving the party earlier this summer because he felt the primary had been stacked by party leaders to elect Rigell. Golden has the potential to siphon some votes from Rigell, which could be significant in a race as tight as this one is expected to be.


District Information

District Profile from Politics in America

Taking in the state's Atlantic coastline, the 2nd is dominated by Virginia Beach, a center for white-collar military families and retirees. The district takes in parts of Norfolk and Hampton and crosses the Chesapeake Bay inlet to Virginia's Eastern Shore.

Growth in Virginia Beach slowed amid military base closings and a national recession. The 2005 BRAC round ordered the 2011 closure of Fort Monroe, in Hampton, but increases at the 2nd's other bases and development of the fort's land may mean the 2nd will avoid job losses. The 2nd also includes nearly half of largely blue-collar and Democratic-leaning Norfolk (shared with the 3rd). Its naval base, shipbuilding and shipping drive the economy.

Conservatism here is rooted in military and economic issues rather than social questions. Barack Obama won the 2008 presidential race here with 50 percent of the vote, but the GOP took back the U.S. House seat from a one-term Democrat in 2010.

Major Industry

Military, tourism, shipbuilding

Military Bases

Naval Station Norfolk, 50,035 military, 13,952 civilian; Joint Base Langley-Eustis (shared with the 3rd), 13,000 military, 6,650 civilian; Joint Expeditionary Base Little Creek-Fort Story, 14,300 military, 5,845 civilian; Naval Air Station Oceana, 10,473 military, 2,042 civilian; Naval Air Station Oceana Dam Neck Annex, 2,937 military, 1,592 civilian (2011)

Cities

Virginia Beach, 437,994; Norfolk (pt.), 116,839; Hampton (pt.), 45,798

Notable

The Norfolk Botanical Garden has more than 30 themed gardens.

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