Democrat Missy Cotter Smasal wins Virginia's 2nd District primary, will face Republican US Rep. Jen Kiggans

Katie King, The Virginian-Pilot on

Published in Political News

NORFOLK, Va. — Missy Cotter Smasal handily defeated Jake Denton Tuesday to earn the Democratic nomination in the race to represent the 2nd Congressional District in the U.S. House of Representatives.

The Associated Press called the race at 8:04 p.m. Eastern time with 22% of votes. Smasal has 68% to Denton’s 32%.

Smasal, 46, is a Navy veteran who served as a surface warfare officer during Operation Enduring Freedom. She works as the executive director for Valor Run, a nonprofit that honors military women, and is an adjunct professor at Old Dominion University.

Denton 48, is an attorney specializing in constitutional law and civil rights.

Smasal now faces a fierce fight against incumbent Jen Kiggans, a Republican who ousted Democrat Elaine Luria from the seat two years ago. The election is expected to be among the most competitive in the nation and could help determine which party holds the House of Representatives.


The race was called even before Smasal arrived at her campaign’s watch party at Ballyhoos in Virginia Beach.

Denton and Smasal raised $314,352 and $771,411 as of May 29, respectively, according to the most recent data from the Virginia Public Access Project, a nonpartisan nonprofit that tracks campaign donations. VPAP reports that Kiggans has raised $3,493,371.

The primary race remained cordial, with both campaigns taking aim at Kiggans or the Republican Party rather than one another. Smasal and Denton shared some major policy priorities, with both identifying the protection of voting rights and reproductive health care as top concerns. Neither candidate previously held elected office.


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