Missy Cotter Smasal emerged victorious in the Democratic primary election, securing her spot as the party’s candidate for the U.S. House of Representatives. She will be facing off against Republican Jen Kiggans in the upcoming November election, a race that holds significant weight in potentially determining the majority party in Congress.

Cotter Smasal’s opponent in the Democratic primary, attorney Jeremiah “Jake” Denton IV, was defeated as she clinched the nomination. The 2nd Congressional District, where the battleground lies, was previously represented by Democrat Elaine Luria until Kiggans unseated her in 2022. Luria had previously defeated Republican Scott Taylor in 2018.

A Navy veteran who served as a surface warfare officer, Cotter Smasal centered her campaign around advocating for reproductive rights and supporting military veterans. Her background as a veteran, former small business owner, and executive director of a non-profit honoring military women provided a strong foundation for her platform. Additionally, she currently works as an adjunct professor at Old Dominion University and resides in Virginia Beach with her family.

Although this is not Cotter Smasal’s first foray into politics, having previously run for office in 2019 against state Sen. Bill DeSteph, she fell short by approximately 2,400 votes. Despite the setback, she remained undeterred and continued to build momentum for her current campaign.

In terms of campaign finances, Cotter Smasal managed to raise $771,411 for her congressional bid as of May 29, based on data from the Virginia Public Access Project. In comparison, Kiggans has raised a significantly higher amount of $3,493,371, indicating a potentially tough financial battle ahead.

The 2nd Congressional District includes various cities and counties such as Virginia Beach, Suffolk, Franklin, Accomack, Northampton, Isle of Wight, and parts of Chesapeake. With early voting scheduled to commence on September 21 for the general election, the stage is set for a closely watched and fiercely contested showdown between Cotter Smasal and Kiggans for the congressional seat.