More than $1.5 million spent on ads in Virginia’s second congressional district race so far

Posted at 5:51 PM, Sep 24, 2018
and last updated 2018-09-24 18:16:59-04

VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. - More than $1.5 million dollars have been spent on ads so far in the race for the second congressional district, according to the Virginia Public Access Project.

Elaine Luria's campaign, along with Democratic groups, has spent more than double what the Scott Taylor campaign and Republicans have spent, VPAP reports.

"If people from Hampton Roads haven't gotten enough of the ads yet, then just hold for a little bit because there are going to be tons of those ads," said Dr. Quentin Kidd from the Wason Center for Public Policy at Christopher Newport University.

On Monday, Luria released her latest campaign ad highlighting her leadership skills including at home with her husband. "She also runs one tight ship," says Robert Blondin about his wife, a retired Navy commander.

Many of the ads have been negative, including Democratic ads highlighting the Taylor campaign's petition scandal. Members of Taylor's campaign are accused of collecting bogus signatures to get Independent candidate Shaun Brown on the ballot.

Earlier this month, a judge ordered Brown removed, citing the fraud allegations. The State Supreme Court later denied her appeal. A special prosecutor is investigating whether Taylor's campaign did any illegal.

Meanwhile, Taylor's campaign has run an ad alleging Democratic House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi is "pulling Luria's strings."

Dr. Kidd says to expect the negative campaigning to continue. "I would expect to see more negative ads," he said. "By Election Day, we may all be sick not only by the volume of ads, but we may be sick of the negativity of the ads as well."

With about six weeks to go until Election Day, Kidd says Taylor must shift the focus away from the scandal to something else, like the economy, veteran issues, or what he's done so far in office. "It's just really hard to change the narrative right now for him, but that's really what he's gotta do."

For Luria, Kidd says she has to continue to get her name out there and stay above the fray, at least for now. "She needs to do what she's doing, which is to introduce herself more and more to the district - talk about the things she would do differently than Taylor."

Still, combining the petition scandal with Democratic voter enthusiasm to vote against President Trump's party, Kidd says Taylor's path to re-election is much murkier than it was a few months ago. "All of that together results in a shift in this race I think from what would've been a lean R to a toss up or lean D right now."