Overview of the VA-02 race

Election Day is getting closer and the options to register to vote are available not just in the local area, but also on campus through Marlins Vote. Marlins Vote is an organization that invites students to become active participants in the local, state and national electoral process. This organization promotes voter registration to students and also offers volunteer opportunities in their activities.  

Senior Ashley Roehrman is a volunteer member of Marlins Vote and she expressed that about 30 to 40 students have been registered already. Marlins Vote registered these students by paper forms that required their name, social security number, birthday and address.

She expressed the hope that more people get motivated, learn about the candidates and register to vote. “Look for the differences, the values and see where they stand on the issues that people feel passionate about,” Roehrman said. Roehrman said that the differences in the candidates is what makes it interesting for people to decide with who they connect the most with. Voting is a factor that Roehrman considered very important for the citizens to hold the government accountable.

The candidates for Virginia’s 2nd Congressional District are Democratic nominee and current incumbent Elaine Luria and former Congressman Republican Scott Taylor. In 2016, Taylor won the elections with 61.33% of the votes against Shaun Brown who had 38.46% of the votes. In 2018 Democrat Elaine Luria won with 51.05% of the votes and Republican Scott Taylor lost with 48.81% of the votes, a margin of approximately 6,000 votes. 

Many political analysts consider this election a competitive race. The Cook Political Report has rated this seat a toss-up and UVA’s Center for Politics, Sabato’s Crystal Ball, rates this seat as lean Democratic. However there is a large fundraising gap between the two candidates. According to the Virginia Public Access Project, Luria has raised nearly four million dollars compared to Taylor who has only raised close to a million dollars as of June 30. 

Luria served in the Navy for 20 years. After her retirement in 2017, she opened a family business called Mermaid Factory. Mermaid Factory is a local business that has created jobs in the community and products to support youth and the arts. According to her campaign website, she states that she will use her experience in the Navy to protect the country and her experience as a small business owner to create an economy that works for everyone. 

Since serving in Congress since 2019, Luria cosponsored the Chesapeake Bay Science, Education and Ecosystem Enhancement Act of 2019, to restore and protect the Chesapeake Bay ecosystem. She cosponsored the Bipartisan Background Checks Act of 2019, to keep children and communities safe from preventable gun violence. Some of the priorities of Luria are healthcare, economics, veterans, gun violence and environment. 

Luria’s website also established that Congress needs leaders with real-world experience that know what it means to serve and overcome obstacles. “Be good. Do good work,” is a statement from Luria Campaign. She believes that this simple but powerful message is lacking in Washington today. 

On Oct. 6, Luria held a roundtable discussion at VWU that took place in the Shafer room of the Boyd Dining Hall. At this event, she stated that one of her main focuses in Congress has been to work across the aisle. Luria serves on two bipartisan committees, the Problem Solvers Caucus and For Country Caucus. “It’s not really all doom and gloom like you might get the impression from the news,” Luria said. “What gets overlooked a lot is that as members of the House, we work hard to find common ground for the good of all Americans.”

Luria’s opponent, Taylor, also served in the Navy as a Navy SEAL for eight years. He then became a successful real estate developer and security consultant. He holds a Bachelor’s and Master’s in International Relations from Harvard University and a Master’s certificate in Government contracting from Old Dominion University. 

He served in the Homeland Security Military Construction/Veterans Affairs and Legislative Branch subcommittees. In the time that he served in Congress, he was involved in securing hundreds of million dollars for his district and state for military construction projects. Taylor’s priorities are veterans, energy issues and the workforce. His campaign established that Taylor has been looked to as a leader for his domestic and foreign policy knowledge. 

Students who are not registered to vote in Virginia have until Oct. 13 to become registered. To register to vote at the campus address, students should visit office 113 Clarke and fill out a registration or register to vote online at the Virginia Department of Elections website. 

Students that are already registered can opt for early in-person voting, which has a due date of Oct. 31. If by any reason the student is not able to go to a polling station, that student can opt for an absentee ballot request. The due date for a postal ballot request is Oct. 23 and for the in-person request; Oct. 31. The return deadline for an absentee ballot request is on Nov. 3. For students registered at VWU, the polls will be open from 6 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Tuesday, Nov. 3 at Ebenezer Baptist Church at 965 Baker Rd Virginia Beach, VA 23455.

By Steven Serrano Cruz