(The Center Square) — General Assembly Senate races for districts 17, 24, 27 and 31 will be a race to the finish, according to data from The Virginia Public Access Project, a nonprofit organization that discloses campaign finance, election results, lobbying and other elements of Virginia politics.
These districts exhibit the narrowest partisan advantage based on voting records from the past two elections, according to VPAP’s ranking methodology. Two are in Hampton Roads, and two in Northern Virginia.
Redistricting will play a crucial role in this election, as this is the first Senate general election since the districts were redrawn. Candidates are competing for these districts, such as they are for the first time.
Virginia’s most expensive Senate race this year is between Democrat Russet Perry, who has raised over $6 million for her campaign, and Republican Juan Pablo Segura, who has raised just over $5 million, for Northern Virginia’s Loudoun County. Expensive races are often a good indication of districts both parties think they can win and see as crucial to their legislative strategy.
Both candidates for District 31 sport impressive resumes. Perry, a graduate of Georgetown Law School, was a prosecutor for the Commonwealth’s Attorney’s office and worked for the CIA. She has a history of advocating for the disadvantaged. She’s campaigning on a platform of protecting women’s rights, reducing costs for health care and child care, lowering taxes for the middle class and gun safety.
Segura co-founded an award-winning virtual maternity care company that was “recently named one of the 150 most innovative healthcare technology companies in the world by CB Insights.” Appointed by Gov. Glenn Youngkin, Segura has also served on the Virginia Innovation Partners Board of Directors. He’s running on transparency and preserving parental rights in schools, returning excess tax dollars to Virginians, improving health care costs through innovation and reaching a “compassionate consensus on the issue of abortion.”
The third-most expensive state Senate race, where the candidates’ campaigns have raised close to a total of $9 million, is in Hampton Roads, District 24. Democrat Monty Mason squares off against Republican Danny Diggs. Mason has been a member of the state legislature for nearly 10 years. A sitting senator, he was first elected to the House of Delegates in 2013 and then ran in a special election for Senate District 1 and won by almost 21%.
Mason is running on his ability to get things done and work with both sides of the aisle; his campaign site boasts of his passing “over 90 bills that have been signed into law, making him one of the most effective members of the General Assembly.”
Diggs has also served in elected office as sheriff for York County and the city of Poquoson for over 20 years. He highlights supporting law enforcement and championing economic growth and improvements to transformation infrastructure as some of the issues he looks to tackle if elected.
This race has been highlighted in the news recently because of negative ads the candidates have run against each other – in particular, ads claiming that Diggs has associated with white supremacist, militia and hate groups and a part of an anti-Diggs ad that appeared to be false.
Republican Tara Durant, Democrat Joel Griffin and Independent Monica Gary vie for District 27, the other competitive Northern Virginia district, comprised mostly of Stafford and Spotsylvania counties and part of Fredericksburg. If fundraising is any indication, the race will come down to the party candidates.
After serving one term in the House of Delegates, Durant is running for state Senate. A teacher actively involved in her church and community, she was motivated to seek office after a local encounter with an angry mob in 2020 caused her to question her community’s public safety policies. She’s campaigning on maintaining parental involvement in schools, addressing learning loss through policy, tax cuts, modernizing transportation infrastructure, public safety and caring for veterans through legislation.
Griffin is an entrepreneur, investor, restauranteur and Marine Corps. veteran “with 25 years of private industry consulting experience and 20 years in government contracting.” He and his wife founded a philanthropy and have co-authored a law in honor of their daughter, who passed away.
He has served on numerous boards and committees, like the Stafford Economic Development Authority, the Stafford Hospital Foundation and the Virginia Community College System Board. He’s campaigning on his economic and business savvy, learned from experience, the right to choose for women, adequate funding for education and a “fully rounded” educational experience for children.
District 17 is the last district to qualify as “competitive” according to the Virginia Public Access Project’s metrics, and it’s in Hampton Roads.
The race for District 16 – the only race with a Republican incumbent in a Democratic-leaning district – is the second-most expensive Senate race this election season, with Republicans and Democrats contributing more than $5 million each to Republican Siobhan Dunnavant and Democrat Schuyler VanValkenburg’s campaigns.