Hate group leader endorsed GOP Virginia 2nd District Congressman Scott Rigell has announced that he will not seek re-election in 2016. Perhaps the prospect of a possibly less gerrymandered district helped push his decision. Whatever the real cause, having an open race in a presidential election year could bee a boon to Democrats. The Virginian Pilot looks at Rigell's decision and the furry of activity it will prompt. Here are excerpts:
U.S. Rep. Scott Rigell, a three-term congressman from Virginia Beach, surprised supporters and colleagues Thursday by announcing he will not seek re-election this year.His decision sets the stage for a competitive contest to replace him during an election cycle in which Hampton Roads and the rest of Virginia will be a main focus of presidential candidates who likely have to win the state to win the White House.Once elected, Rigell supported House Republicans’ repeated attempts to abolish the Affordable Care Act. He also supported efforts to limit nondefense discretionary spending while consistently championing Pentagon programs and veterans’ issues. He called them vital to the country but also key linchpins of the Hampton Roads economy and his district’s dense military population.Rigell broke ranks with Republicans on some issues. He joined Sen. Tim Kaine, a Virginia Democrat, in recent months to demand that Congress take a vote to authorize the use of military force against Islamic State terrorists – a vote that GOP leaders refused to allow.
With his departure, the district’s voters, who narrowly favored Obama in both his elections, may be open to considering a Republican or a moderate Democrat. Rigell’s stepping down also may be unsettling for Republicans nationally who viewed a strong incumbent’s re-election in the 2nd as helping them carry Virginia in the presidential election.
“I don’t see a path to the White House without Hampton Roads,” said Curtis Colgate, GOP chairman of the 2nd District.
State Del. Scott Taylor, one of five Republicans who unsuccessfully competed against Rigell in the GOP’s 2010 2nd District primary, said Thursday that he’s considering running.University of Virginia political science professor Larry Sabato said people shouldn’t read too much into Rigell’s decision. He noted that Rep. Robert Hurt, a Virginia Republican who also was first elected in 2010, also decided not to run again.
Rigell's departure is no loss to fair minded Virginians. Interestingly, the young and good looking Scott Taylor has made overtures to support the Hampton Roads LGBT community and attended last year's HR Pride launch.