VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (WAVY) — Two weeks before Election Day, and early voting is underway, with some communities voting Saturday this weekend.
The hot race continues to be in the Second District, and the ads between Democrat Elaine Luria and Republican challenger Jen Kiggans continue to arrive at a rapid pace.
The latest survey from Christopher Newport University had the race tied at 45-45. We may not even know the winner on election night.
With $11 million raised, it is the most expensive House of Congress race in Virginia and North Carolina.
Tuesday’s two Truth Tracker ads touched on the economy, predatory lending and a vote that a candidate refuses to explain.
The ad sponsored by the Republican congressional leadership shows a couple outside washing a car.
“Did you know Elaine Luria praised Biden’s economy? She just doesn’t understand. I get hosed down here,” the man says as his face is full of water.
10 On Your Side asked Luria if she’s “housing voters.”
“That couldn’t be further from the truth,” Luria replied.
The ad continues with the words “Lame Elaine Luria. It has contributed to creating the economic mess.
The ad finds support for US bailout lawbut the economy is tested for many reasons, and it is complex.
“The US bailout provided money to local and state governments, got guns blazing, got kids back to school and kept small businesses open,” Luria said. “Payroll Protection Plans have provided loans that have helped tens of thousands of people in small businesses, helping them keep their doors open.”
The ad then states, “Luria is so out of touch she voted to give stimulus checks to felons.”
The Truth Tracker finds this statement leaves a false impression. This is misleading, with the ad suggesting criminals were the intended beneficiaries.
“The stimulus checks have gone to all qualified Americans who fit into the tax bracket,” Luria told 10 On Your Side.
The stimulus checks were not intended for people with criminal records, but it is true that people with criminal records may have received stimulus checks if they qualified.
“Criminals who are in jail might still qualify for a stimulus check,” Luria added. “Every qualified American, based on their tax bracket, received funding. Every family has had challenges during COVID.
Luria says if she loses it’s likely due to a redistricting, which gives her a more Republican district, and it’s a tough time for Democrats to run due to the bad economy and a unpopular president.
Also, it is TRUE that Congresswoman Luria will not be campaigning with President Biden, choosing US Senators Mark Warner and Tim Kaine instead.
“I have nothing planned for him [President Biden] come. This race will be won on what I delivered for the district. It’s my name on the ballot, not Joe Biden’s.
Now to Jen Kiggans. The next ad targets Republican challenger Luria.
“Our family has always been service-oriented and country-first,” says a mother at home with her two children. They are a Navy family.
The ad is sponsored by the political action committee VoteVets.
“Our family has always been about service and putting our country first,” the announcement continued.
VoteVets then criticizes State Senator Jen Kiggans in a vote she cast in April 2020.
“The Kiggans voted against a crackdown on predatory money lenders and their unfair practices that particularly hurt military families.”
It’s true. Kiggans voted against Senate Bill 421 which, among other measures, would cap the annual interest rate for predatory or short-term loans at 36%.
As we did during the five minutes allotted to us to talk to her, Kiggans declined to respond to 10 On Your Side’s inquiry and explain why she voted for Senate Bill 421.
We tried several times to get him to explain his vote.
“But back to Senate Bill 421, why did you vote against the Virginia Fairness and Lending Act, which you did?”
Kiggan’s response was, “this bill isn’t even referenced in the ad.”
It’s TRUE: Senate Bill 421 is not mentioned, but the ad is about predatory lending and Senate Bill 421.
Again we asked, “why did you vote against SB421?”
His response: “I would never vote for anything that I think would be considered hurtful or detrimental to veterans.
Obviously, VotingVeterans thought his vote was prejudicial on this issue, and that’s why they put the ad on the air.
We asked again.
“I need you to answer why you voted, the reasons, against SB 421?”
Kiggan’s response: “I’m saying one in six seafarers can’t pay their bills right now.”
This would lead him to criticize the current economy.
We pointed out to Senator Kiggans that those in favor of SB 421 argued that the bill would help seafarers on fixed incomes with lower interest rates.
The ad continues. “[It] It turns out that Kiggans took all that money from special interest funded payday loan industry. Jen Kiggans is a fraud.
“So this ad, in particular, calling me a fraud hurts me a lot as a veteran,” Kiggans said.
10 On Your Side asked Kiggans for money from special interests.
“I never took campaign money from these organizations, these payday lenders.”
However, it is true. Campaign finance reports show that Kiggans took $20,000 in 2019, and before the vote on SB 421 in April 2020, from GOPAC’s Campaign Fund when she was running for the state Senate.
And it is TRUE that at least $100,000 has been contributed to this GOPAC Fund by these payday lenders:
- Amscot Financial
- Check Into Cash, Inc.
- Moving America Forward
But, it is also TRUE that these lenders did not contribute directly to her campaign, and she would only give us five minutes for the interview.
“Senator, again, can you please answer this question? Why did you vote against it? Why did you vote against SB 421?”
His non-response, again: “I wouldn’t do anything to harm our veteran population.”
And then we heard the five-minute timer go off, at which point Senator Kiggans gets up and walks away, dragging the microphone still attached to his robe.
She never answered the question about SB 421.