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Kiggans topples Luria, taking 2nd District House seat in Hampton Roads

State Sen. Jen Kiggans stands next to another person
Jen Kiggans smiles after announcing her victory in Virginia's 2nd District Congressional race. (Photo: Ryan Murphy/WHRO)

Republican Jen Kiggans is headed to Congress.

The ballroom at the Westin in Virginia Beach’s Town Center was abuzz for hours, long before Kiggans took the stage to announce her victory on Tuesday night.

Kiggans said in her victory speech that she wants to “restore American strength in our economy, at our borders, in our community and on the world stage.”

Cheers of “U.S.A.” and “Jen” boomed through the hotel ballroom, and supporters in cowboy hats and draped in American flags rushed for photos after her speech.

The first-term state senator from Virginia Beach unseated Democratic incumbent Elaine Luria to claim the 2nd District, which includes Virginia Beach, Chesapeake, the Eastern Shore and much of western Tidewater. Kiggans won about 12,000 more votes than Luria — almost a four-point margin.

“I’d like to thank my opponent, Elaine Luria, who fought a hard-fought battle in this race,” Kiggans said. “And although we may differ in our political ideologies, we certainly share a love for our Navy and a love for our country.”

Kiggans “will fight for parents' rights in schools and hold President Joe Biden accountable for high gas prices, a broken border and soaring inflation," Republican National Committee spokesperson Savannah Viar wrote in an email. "Congresswoman-elect Kiggans will deliver results where Democrats failed."

U.S. Rep. Elaine Luria speaks at a podium
U.S. Rep. Elaine Luria conceded to her opponent, state Sen. Jen Kiggans, shortly before 11 p.m. Tuesday. (Photo: Katherine Hafner/WHRO)

At a Holiday Inn in Virginia Beach, Luria supporters watched a CNN live stream on a big screen as the results came in — cheering for Democratic wins, booing for Republican ones. When Kiggans ultimately prevailed, supporters slowly trickled out.

But many stayed for Luria's concession speech shortly before 11 p.m. Tuesday. She said she'd called to congratulate Kiggans, prompting boos from her supporters.

“Please don't boo," Luria told the crowd. "Because the success of this district depends on her success."

Luria raised almost three times as much money as Kiggans. In total, the two candidates spent $10 million in their campaigns.

Kiggans’ win leaves open her state Senate seat, which she’s held since 2020. A special election will be held to fill out the rest of her 4-year term.

It'll have to happen quickly if the seat is going to be filled in time for Virginia's General Assembly session, which convenes noon Jan. 11

WHRO News' also Ryan Murphy contributed reporting to this story.

Read the original story on WHRO's website.