A House Democrat has accused her Republican rival in Virginia of kissing the “feet, ring and everything else” of House Minority leader Kevin McCarthy in one of the most exciting races in the US.
Democrat Rep. Elaine Luria accused Republican Senator Jen Kiggans of the state of blindly supporting McCarthy, who viewed a temporary drop in record-breaking gas prices as a bad thing for Republicans because it could hurt their chances of winning the midterm elections.
The congresswoman accused Kiggans of wanting “public gas prices to be high” for political gain during a second debate between the couple in Smithfield, Virginia.
“I see I have a minute left, so I’ll wrap it up, but the point is, this woman wants your gas prices to be high,” Luria said, pointing at Kiggans.
Luria continued: “I just listened to an interview with Kevin McCarthy, who she plans to vote with as a speaker, and he said, ‘This is going to be a minor issue for Republicans as the midterm elections approach. I saw from August, when gas prices fell, we Republicans thought it would really hurt us to win the House.”
Luria referred to comments made by McCarthy, who would be put in the chair if Republicans beat Democrats in the midterm elections and take control of the House.
McCarthy had told Punchbowl News that “August was not a good month” for Republicans – in part because of the temporary decline in record-breaking gas prices.
Democrat Rep. Elaine Luria (right) accused Virginia Republican Senator Jen Kiggans (left) of wanting “the public’s gas prices to be high” for political gain during a second debate between the couple in Smithfield, Virginia
“They didn’t care about your wallet and the fact that gas prices were falling and they should want that,” Luria said as the crowd clapped as a man yelled “Yes.”
She continued: “They just want gas prices to stay high so they can win the election. And Kevin McCarthy, who wants to be a speaker, who she says she’ll vote for and kiss his feet and his ring and everything else, wants your gas prices to be high.”
“So why vote for someone who’s really trying to keep gas prices high so she can run for Congress?” she asked.
Luria’s campaign group told Fox news that the politician had refrained from calling Kiggans an ‘a** kisser’ during the debate because she was ‘too polite’.
Kiggans told the news site: “This is what’s wrong with politics. My opponent resorts to disgusting and unhinged attacks because 99% of the time she can’t defend her record of voting with Nancy Pelosi.
“It’s insulting as a woman and absolutely abhorrent. Clearly Elaine Luria is not the leader Virginia’s 2nd District deserves.”
US Rep. Elaine Luria, D-2nd., left, and Republican challenger Virginia State Sen. Jen Kiggans, R-Virginia Beach, prepare for debate sponsored by the Hampton Roads Chamber of Congress on Oct. 12
Luria and other Democrats are campaigning this year in a different political environment. Concerns over Donald Trump’s presidency that their party has deployed to turn over more than 40 seats and regain the House majority have abated.
Instead, there is frustration with the economy under President Joe Biden.
And many once-competitive districts have been redrawn by Republican-dominated state legislators to be kinder to the GOP.
“It was a very different world,” pollster John Zogby said of 2018. “Inflation is now where we haven’t seen in 40 years and it affects everyone. And this is the party in power. With campaigns you can’t say “But it could have been” or “But look what the other guy did”.’
Many swing district Democrats elected four years ago, such as Lucia, were supported by highly educated suburban voters, women and youth who shun Trump.
That means many defeats for House Democrats could be read as opposition to Trump that no longer motivates voters in the same way — although the former president could seek the White House again in 2024.
Trump also continues to shape politics in a much more topical sense. He dominated the national Republican Party despite spreading lies about the free and fair 2020 presidential election and is now facing a House subpoena for helping incite the mob that attacked the US Capitol last year.
Tom Perez, who headed the Democratic National Committee from 2017 to 2021, noted that mid-term cycles are historically difficult for the president’s party and that — plus grim economic news from the US — would normally raise the question: ‘will the Democrats be shot at?’
Luria (pictured) and other Democrats are campaigning this year in a different political environment. Concerns over Donald Trump’s presidency having deployed their party to turn over 40 seats and regain the House majority have abated
Instead, Perez thinks many of the toughest congressional races stay close because of the strength of the Democrats elected four years ago.
“All these people from the Class of ’18, what they have in common is that they are really incredibly capable and capable and they have earned the trust of voters in their districts across the ideological spectrum,” said Perez, co-chair. of the super PAC American Bridge 21st century.
“That to me is why we have an opportunity here, despite the headwinds of the moment, is that incredible combination of candidate quality contrasted with the extreme views of the people who stand up to them.”
In all, 66 new Democrats won House races in 2018, knocking over 41 Republican seats. Their party returned much of those gains in 2020, with Republicans taking 14 new seats. Those GOP wins include beating a dozen Democrats who were first elected to the House the previous cycle.
Democratic House losses were eclipsed by Biden beating Trump. But this time, the further dwindling ranks of the Democratic House class of 2018 may draw more attention — especially if it helps the GOP gain the net five seats it needs to win back the majority of the chamber.
In addition to Luria, Democrats who may be vulnerable include Representatives Elissa Slotkin of Michigan and Tom Malinowski of New Jersey. Another Democrat from Virginia, Rep. Abigail Spanberger, as well as Rep. Jared Golden of Maine, Angie Craig of Minnesota and Sharice Davids of Kansas, could also face tough reelections.
Meanwhile, Republicans have 32 Hispanic nominees and 23 black nominees running for the House this cycle — both party records. They say their chances of winning the majority of the chamber are based more on high inflation and rising crime rates in some places than on Trump or last year’s uprising.
“We have a choice between common sense and crazy,” Republican National Committee chairman Ronna McDaniel said in a statement. “And as a result, Americans will vote Republicans.”
The House Class of Democrats in 2018 will not disappear completely. Some incumbents are seeking reelection in safe blue districts, including representatives Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York, Lucy McBath of Georgia and Colin Allred of Texas, who co-chaired the class.
Haley Stevens, Michigan’s other co-president, defeated 2018 Democratic House fellow class member Andy Levin as the two incumbents go head-to-head in this year’s Democratic primaries based on their state’s new map.
A 2018 Democratic House class member who was ousted in 2020, former New York Rep. Max Rose, now run to return to Congress. Another member, New Jersey Rep. Jeff Van Drew, has since become a Republican.
Former Virginia Rep. Denver Riggleman was a Republican elected in 2018 but lost his GOP primaries in 2020. Riggleman now appears in a TV ad praising Spanberger.
“She’s trying to change Congress and make it work,” Riggleman said in the ad. “She puts the country first.”