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Missy Cotter Smasal wins Democratic primary, will face Rep. Kiggans in November

Missy Cotter Smasal will face U.S. Rep. Jen Kiggans to represent the 2nd Congressional District.
Photo from Missy Cotter Smasal Instagram
Missy Cotter Smasal will face U.S. Rep. Jen Kiggans to represent the 2nd Congressional District.

Democrat Missy Cotter Smasal will run against U.S. Rep. Jen Kiggans’ in a tightly contested district.

After a primary election Tuesday night, Missy Cotter Smasal is the Democratic nominee to run for a seat in the U.S. House of Representatives.

Cotter Smasal defeated attorney Jeremiah “Jake” Denton IV.

She will run against Republican Jen Kiggans in the tightly contested 2nd Congressional District — a race that could determine which party holds the majority in Congress come November.

Democrat Elaine Luria represented the district before Kiggans ousted her in 2022. Before that, Luria defeated Republican Scott Taylor in 2018.

“I am just focused on delivering results for coastal Virginians,” Cotter Smasal said on primary night. “People want to protect their reproductive freedom, people want to protect their voting rights, people want to protect their democracy.”

Cotter Smasal, a Navy veteran who served as a surface warfare officer, ran a campaign focused on reproductive rights and helping military veterans.

Along with being a veteran herself, Cotter Smasal is a former small business owner and is the executive director of a non-profit that honors military women. She is an adjunct professor at Old Dominion University and lives with her family in Virginia Beach.

This is not Cotter Smasal’s first campaign. In 2019, state Sen. Bill DeSteph defeated her to keep his seat by about 2,400 votes.

Cotter Smasal raised $771,411 for her congressional campaign as of May 29, according to the Virginia Public Access Project. Kiggans has raised $3,493,371.

The second congressional district encompasses the cities of Virginia Beach, Suffolk, Franklin and Accomack, Northampton and Isle of Wight counties as well as parts of Chesapeake.

Early voting for the general election begins Sept. 21.

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