Can Glenn Youngkin stem the blue tide in the Old Dominion?

For most of the last 12 years, Republicans in Virginia have been wandering in a political wilderness.

They watched in despair as Democrats swept statewide elections in 2013, then nearly won control of the General Assembly in 2017 — the final seat resulted in a tie that was broken when the Republican’s name was pulled out of a bowl — before going on to wrest control of the House of Delegates and State Senate in 2019. Republicans’ poor electoral fortunes were not limited to Richmond; former President Donald Trump lost the state by five points in 2016, but lost it by 10 points four years later. 

As the Virginia gubernatorial race begins in earnest, Democrats in the Old Dominion seem to think the status quo is working. In a landslide primary election earlier this month, Virginia Democrats nominated Terry McAuliffe, the prolific national fundraiser who already served as governor from 2014 to 2018. (The state bars governors from serving two consecutive terms.)

But the GOP hasn’t given up on Virginia yet. From a primary field of well-known Republican politicians ranging from business-friendly state lawmakers to a self-described “Trump in heels,” Republican voters chose Glenn Youngkin, a political newcomer who most recently served as chief executive of investing giant The Carlyle Group. Youngkin has touted his business bona fides while running a campaign that’s scant on policy details, in the hopes of appealing to both the Trump-supporting base of his party and the suburban swing voters who overwhelmingly shifted to Democrats during the past administration. His clearest argument seems to be that he is a new face on the scene — and he thinks Virginia needs change.  

“I think common sense has been checked at the door,” Youngkin told Jewish Insider in a recent interview at his campaign headquarters in Falls Church, Va., just inside the Beltway. He was wearing a white Oxford shirt with his campaign logo — the words YOUNGKIN GOVERNOR above the shape of Virginia — embroidered in red. “Being an outsider who brings a fresh perspective, I can say things like, ‘Well, why in the world do we do it like that?’”

Despite Democrats’ good fortunes in Virginia in recent years, a win is not a guaranteed outcome for McAuliffe. A recent poll showed the former governor beating Youngkin by only four points, a surprisingly close margin. Yet unlike 2017, when national money poured into the state’s down-ballot races, Virginia Democrats worry those donors might feel they no longer need to invest in Virginia. “We’ll have a challenging time convincing national donors that Virginia is at risk,” a former Democratic state official told JI.  

ANNANDALE, VA – MAY 8: Gubernatorial candidate Glenn Youngkin works the line of cars as the Virginia GOP holds a drive through primary to select candidates for the 2021 general election, in Annandale, VA. (Photo by Bill O’Leary/The Washington Post via Getty Images)

“A Republican can win in Virginia,” said Mark Rozell, dean of the Schar School of Policy and Government at George Mason University. “There are many analyses that I think are overstated, that claim that Virginia is a solid blue state now strongly in Democratic hands, and nearly impossible for Republicans to win statewide. We’ve been here before.” 

In an interview with JI, Youngkin provided insight into how he plans to address two of his major priorities — education and the economy — and expressed concern over rising antisemitism in Virginia and around the country. Unlike many Republican Senate and House candidates who are clamoring for Trump’s endorsement, Youngkin did not mention the former president over the course of the interview.

“He’s making, I think, the right choice in presenting himself now as a mainstream, conservative Republican, and trying to move away from the taint of the Trump era,” said Rozell. “All of that is complicated by the fact that Trump gave a full-throated endorsement of Youngkin, and Youngkin responded by saying he was honored to have that endorsement.”

Since winning the Republican nomination at a statewide nominating convention last month, Youngkin has shied away from mentioning Trump on the campaign trail. This marks a change for Youngkin, who ran a markedly more conservative campaign in the primary, when he touted his Election Integrity Task Force, and refused to say whether President Joe Biden was legitimately elected. Just days after clinching the nomination, he began to acknowledge Biden’s election as legitimate. 

He has also avoided taking concrete positions on culturally conservative issues like abortion and gun rights. His campaign website does not have an issues page, and a Washington Post editorial criticized Youngkin for “mastering the duck and the dodge.” 

Democrats’ strategy involves taking Youngkin’s lack of concrete policy proposals and tying him to Trump, but Youngkin is attempting to pre-empt that by running TV ads across the state, part of his decision to invest millions of his own dollars into his campaign. “It’s giving Youngkin the opportunity to define himself prior to the time that the Democrats define him,” said Bob Holsworth, managing director at DecideSmart, a Virginia-based political consulting firm. 

While Youngkin is tiptoeing around Trump’s legacy, he is offering a full-throated endorsement of the latest front in national Republicans’ culture war: the battle in school boards across the country, including in Virginia, over critical race theory.  

“He’s making, I think, the right choice in presenting himself now as a mainstream, conservative Republican, and trying to move away from the taint of the Trump era,”

Mark Rozell, dean of the Schar School of Policy and Government at George Mason University

“What critical race theory is clearly about is, first, identifying people by the color of their skin and dividing people into groups, and then providing judgments on those groups,” Youngkin explained. The term refers to a legal theory, which has historically been reserved for college courses, that asserts that racism is systemic in the U.S. Over the past few months, as many school boards around the country have mandated instruction about racism following widespread racial justice protests, the term has come into popular parlance. 

Critics of critical race theory argue that teaching children that white Americans have “white privilege” due to their race, while Black people and other people of color are at a disadvantage, encourages strife between racial groups. “It doesn’t mean we shouldn’t talk about the challenges that so many folks and particularly black Americans have faced,” Youngkin noted. “In fact, it kind of pits kids against one another. And this just isn’t right.” 

Republicans like Youngkin seek to limit recent school board curriculum changes that now mandate the teaching of topics like white supremacy and racism in greater detail. 

“It was, in fact, mandated through the Board of Education, that we were going to teach this in the schools. We will de-mandate that,” said Youngkin. He did not provide further details on how he will attempt to fight critical race theory. “The goal is for us to actually not judge people by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character and by opening up opportunity for everyone,” he explained, quoting Martin Luther King, Jr. 

The Board of Education is a commission whose members are appointed by the governor, and Youngkin would not have sway over the board until its current members’ terms expire, beginning next year. 

In response to the racial reckoning that occurred last summer after George Floyd’s murder, the state Board of Education adopted some changes to Virginia’s state history and social science standards last fall. But the new standards do not refer to “critical race theory,” and ultimately most decisions about how to adapt those standards into concrete curriculums occur at local school board levels, which would be out of Youngkin’s direct control as governor. 

WASHINGTON, DC – APRIL 29: (L to R) Suzanne Youngkin, Glenn Youngkin and former U.S. Secretary of Labor Elaine Chao attend Capitol File’s book release party for Kelley Paul’s “True and Constant Friends” on April 29, 2015 at ENO Wine Bar in Washington, DC. (Photo by Paul Morigi/Getty Images for Capitol File Magazine)

Still, Youngkin and Republicans think the message sells. Critical race theory “clearly has some political appeal” as a campaign talking point, said Rozell. “If the Republicans can actually pivot away from the Trump era, and turn the tables, and try to characterize the Democratic left as having gone way too far, there may be a strategy there to win over some swing voters in the critical suburbs and exurban communities.”

Jewish Republicans think the message is resonating in their communities, too. “I think it’s an issue that has really taken hold,” said William Kilberg, a former partner at Gibson, Dunn and Crutcher who served as solicitor for the U.S. Department of Labor in the Nixon administration and who lives in McLean. “I think people are very concerned. They’re seeing a lot of it in the schools, both public and private.”

Rabbi Dovid Asher of Keneseth Beth Israel, an Orthodox synagogue in Richmond, expressed concern that curriculum changes could target Jewish students, or unfairly leave out Jewish history. (The edited standards adopted by the state last year include the Holocaust, which has long been part of the state standards.) “I think a lot of us are concerned about efforts in other states, like California, in terms of what is going to be adopted or ratified for the curriculum, and whether Jews are going to be left out, or even worse, kind of attacked for a misunderstanding of our history,” Asher said, referring to the California state ethnic studies curriculum whose early iterations were widely criticized by the Jewish community for leaving out Jews and targeting Israel. “We certainly would like allies on the inside that have power with regards to these issues, to be more inclusive of the American Jewish narrative.”

In contrast to other Virginia Republicans who have run far-right campaigns in recent years, Youngkin has tried to present his campaign as a big tent; he put out a statement recognizing Juneteenth and last week announced a Latinos for Youngkin coalition. 

“What’s been interesting is the enthusiasm for this campaign. What we’re doing is not just Republicans, it’s actually Republicans and independents and a lot of Democrats,” Youngkin told JI. 

Still, Youngkin is new to electoral politics, and building a coalition is difficult if voters don’t know who he is. A graduate of Rice University and Harvard Business School, Youngkin worked at Carlyle for 25 years. He has donated hundreds of thousands of dollars to Republican politicians, but was not widely known as a major donor. 

Youngkin’s relative novelty also extends to the state’s Jewish community. “Most of my Jewish friends, candidly, are either in New York or Texas,” Youngkin said when asked who he is close to in Virginia’s Jewish community. Youngkin’s former colleague David Rubenstein, the Carlyle founder and a prominent Jewish philanthropist, declined to comment, noting through a spokesperson that he does not weigh in on political topics. 

Youngkin is active in faith circles; he served as church warden at Holy Trinity Church in McLean, and until he ran for office, he was on the board of trustees at the Museum of the Bible in Washington. Funded by the Green family, the evangelical Christian family that owns Hobby Lobby, the museum aims “to invite all people to engage with the transformative power of the Bible.” 

“What I loved about the museum — when I was in an exhibit, and I looked around, there were folks from every possible faith persuasion, and none,” Youngkin said. “There were folks from all ages and ethnicities learning about the Bible, and for all kinds of reasons: curiosity, to deepen a religious understanding, it was really neat.”

Last week, Youngkin unveiled a plan to combat antisemitism — his most specific policy proposal to date, on any topic. He pledged to create a “Virginia Holocaust, Genocide and Anti-Semitism Advisory Commission” and work with the General Assembly to adopt the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance’s (IHRA) working definition of antisemitism. The plan appears to be modeled off a bill that passed in Texas last week, which will adopt the IHRA working definition of antisemitism and create a state commission of the same name as the one in Youngkin’s proposal.  

“Antisemitism is on the rise, and actually violence is as a result of, I think, a lessening of understanding of, one, we have to treat each other with deep respect, but also, why do we teach about the Holocaust in Virginia? It’s to make sure that Virginians understand and can remember,” Youngkin explained. 

McAuliffe has not released a concrete plan on confronting antisemitism, but his website notes that he intends to “improve identification and enforcement of hate crimes.” Reached for comment this week following Youngkin’s proposal, McAuliffe mentioned the deadly 2017 Unite the Right rally in Charlottesville, which he called “a grim reminder that antisemitism and white supremacy are alive and well in our Commonwealth and in our nation” and noted that Youngkin’s “top endorser Donald Trump…called these domestic terrorists ‘very fine people.’” (In response, a Youngkin spokesperson noted that “the anti-Semitic march in Charlottesville was an abhorrent demonstration of hate that has no place in America.”)

Youngkin’s spokesperson told JI that when crafting the proposal, the campaign had consulted with Rabbi Yaakov Menken, managing director of the Coalition for Jewish Values, a conservative advocacy organization, and Rabbi Gershon Litt, the Hillel director at the College of William and Mary. When contacted by JI, both rabbis said they were approached by the campaign after the fact and asked to give a quote praising the proposal. 

Glenn Youngkin

“I just gave a quote about the legislation but I have never spoken with the campaign,” Litt said. Menken said a campaign official called and gave him an overview: “I didn’t even look it over. She kind of ran it by me,” he noted. “I said, ‘That sounds like a great idea.’”

Other politically conservative Jewish community leaders agree that they are just now beginning to learn about Youngkin, but some like what they have seen so far. Kilberg believes the Youngkin campaign is trying to reach Jewish voters. “I have no doubt [he] will,” Kilberg, a longtime Republican activist, knows Youngkin from the business world, said. “He shows sensitivity out of the box. I know him better, I suspect,  than most of our co-religionists because we’re more active and we’re Republicans and most Jews are not.” 

Asher, the Richmond rabbi, said that Youngkin “has a little bit of a reputation, especially within the business community and with regards to his political interests and political connections, to be someone who is supportive of tradition, of religious observance, and somebody who is going to protect religious liberties.”

Several Jewish Republicans remarked to JI that Youngkin had supported the Jewish community earlier this year when the Republican Party of Virginia announced that voting in the statewide nominating convention would take place only on a Saturday, with no exception for Shabbat-observant Jews. The party eventually added a Friday afternoon voting period. “He was very supportive of that initiative and in that kind of outreach, so for Republicans in my congregation, that’s a good sign — to have somebody who could be the leader of the Virginia Republican Party be on their side for those issues,” said Asher. 

Ultimately, Youngkin’s pitch comes back to his experience as an executive, which he says can help him run the state more efficiently — a classic argument for business leaders-turned-politicians, and one that McAuliffe himself has used. 

On the economy, he sounds like an old-school conservative, with the goal of cutting red tape and bureaucracy. His first step will be to “make sure that any residual executive order that the governor has put in place is removed immediately,” Youngkin said. He pointed to an executive order that current Governor Ralph Northam signed in January making some COVID-19 workplace standards permanent, though a more recent order in May ended the mask mandate and eased restrictions. 

He proposed offering a tax holiday to new small businesses “in order to give them a chance to get back on their feet because we need that job engine cranked back up,” Youngkin said. More broadly, he criticized bureaucratic regulations in the state. “Our job creation engine has had a blanket on it, which has really been a stack of challenging regulatory impositions,” argued Youngkin. “As a business leader, there’s just no excuse for it.”

“The comprehensive nature of the Virginia government doesn’t really intimidate me, because I’ve run something very big,” said Youngkin. “But I also recognize that I’m going to need a lot of people around me who understand how to get things done in order to accomplish many of our goals.”

With Lowey and Engel departing, Elaine Luria says she’ll be stepping up

One of the most frequent questions Rep. Elaine Luria (D-VA) receives from constituents in Virginia’s 2nd congressional district is: “Is it as crazy in Washington as we see on TV?” 

Her typical answer, Luria told Jewish Insider,,is that while it might seem like there is no real opportunity for positive change in Congress, she has managed to find common ground with members across the political spectrum to pass legislation that matters to all. 

And while she is only a freshman member in Congress, Luria had the third highest number of bills signed into law by President Donald Trump among her colleagues on Capitol Hill last year. “It kind of shows that the process can work, and that there are lots of things that we can do that are not controversial where we can find common ground,” Luria told JI in a recent interview. “So when I talk to people about that, the bipartisan work I’ve done is hopefully somewhat reassuring.” 

Born and raised in Birmingham, Alabama, Luria spent 20 years in the U.S. Navy, ultimately rising to the rank of commander. She served on six different ships and was deployed six times, operating nuclear reactors and on aircraft carriers. 

Luria, 45, was first elected in 2018 as part of a blue wave that flipped districts that had voted for President Donald Trump in 2016, beating first-term incumbent Republican Rep. Scott Taylor with 51% of the vote. This year, her district is considered a toss-up, according to the Cook Political Report, and she will once again face Taylor. 

While Luria voted for Trump’s impeachment last year, she has aligned herself with the president when it comes to his policy on Israel and — as a member of the House Bipartisan Task Force For Combating Anti-Semitism — she has been an outspoken critic of the far-left wing of the Democratic Party. Luria was one of 12 House Democrats who broke party ranks last year to vote in favor of a Republican motion to recommit on anti-BDS legislation that would allow state and local governments to adopt laws to divest public funds from entities that boycott Israel. 

She is also only one of a handful of Democrats who have attended Trump White House events, including the signing of Trump’s executive order to combat antisemitism on campus, and more recently, the Abraham Accords signing ceremony between Israel and the United Arab Emirates, along with Bahrain. “I was honored to join President Trump at the signing ceremony of the Abraham Accords, marking a new era in regional security and cooperation in the Middle East,” Luria told JI after the event. “I commend President Trump on his leadership to make this milestone a reality,” she added. 

While Luria claims she does not agree with everything Trump has done, she noted she is “willing to literally stand behind him on the stage while he does support an effort that I do agree with.” Luria added she would love “to see more bipartisanship and more opportunity to work together to get the things done that we all agree on.” 

Elaine Luria picture

Rep. Elaine Luria

In an interview last year, Luria told The Washington Post that her Jewish faith inspired her to take a position on impeachment and to speak up in defense of Israel and against antisemitism. 

“I did not necessarily anticipate going in to be a representative in the House that I would need to be as vocal about these things,” Luria told JI. Her debut speech on the House floor was during a debate over a resolution against hate, widely considered to be watered-down, following Rep. Ilhan Omar’s (D-MN) comments regarding lawmakers’ support for Israel. Luria quipped that her remarks, decrying the dual loyalty label by pointing to her faith and past experience, sounded like an adapted version of the Passover song “Dayenu.” While she felt “discouraged” that the measure was diluted in the process, Luria said she felt it was important for her to use that opportunity to “speak up against antisemitism.” 

Luria maintained that with the retirement of longtime Democratic members like Reps. Nita Lowey and Eliot Engel of New York, and the addition of some newly successful far-left candidates, “I think that it’s much more important that I stay and come back to Congress as a strong voice to counter people who certainly speak up with different views than mine.” 

Last year, Luria reached out to Omar to discuss Israel and antisemitism. And while those meetings were not “as productive as I hoped for, I will always continue to try to do that,” Luria said, adding that she will “redouble” her efforts to engage with new members about issues of importance to the Jewish community. 

Luria is also one of the few House Democrats who didn’t sign on to letters expressing opposition to possible Israeli annexation of parts of the West Bank. A House letter sent to Israeli leaders, signed by 191 House Democrats and backed by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA), warned that annexation would undermine the two-state solution. Luria told JI she “deliberately chose to not sign on to that letter,” because she believes it’s not the job of a member of Congress to be weighing in on Israeli government decisions, or to be “doing anything that would erode the very strong relationship that we have between the U.S. and Israel.” 

Luria was an early supporter of Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden, endorsing the now-Democratic nominee back in January. “I know that Joe Biden is a very strong supporter of Israel. He stood up to antisemitism during his very long career serving in the Senate and he believes in standing up against the BDS movement,” she said. The only place she differs with her party’s standard-bearer is on his commitment to rejoin the 2015 nuclear deal with Iran. “I know that that is something that I’m not 100% aligned with him on, but I think that overwhelmingly his positions, both for domestic policy and support of the U.S.-Israel relationship, [are] something I do align with.” 

Luria, along with fellow freshmen Reps. Max Rose (D-NY) and Elissa Slotkin (D-MI), are part of the “Gang of Nine,” moderate Democrats with national security backgrounds. 

In 2018, during a campaign stop, Sen. Tim Kaine (D-VA) introduced Luria and expressed in amazement how “this Jewish girl from Alabama,” who served 20 years in the Navy, commanding a combat unit of 400 sailors, was going to be a congresswoman. Recalling that moment, Luria laughed that she might indeed be an unusual candidate for office. “I guess there are not many Jewish girls from Alabama who go to the Naval Academy and then end up in Congress,” she said. “But I feel it’s just a continuation of my service, and I feel a great responsibility to preserve my heritage and serve my constituents well.”

Two veterans face off in Virginia’s 10th district GOP primary

Two military veterans in Virginia are hoping that serving in Congress will become their next mission.

Victory this November will be an uphill battle for the winner of the Republican primary in the state’s 10th congressional district, which was flipped blue when Rep. Jennifer Wexton unseated two-term incumbent Rep. Barbara Comstock (R-VA) in 2018. Now Republicans in the district are looking to reclaim the seat.

Jeff Dove, who deployed to Iraq as an Army chemical operations specialist, and Rob Jones, who deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan as a Marine combat engineer tasked with identifying IEDs, are considered top contenders for the nomination. Both men said their military service has shaped them, and their political aspirations, in fundamental ways.

“In the Marine Corps, I learned to be a person that took responsibility for the things that are important to them,” Jones, who lost both legs above the knee in an IED explosion and went on to become a paralympian and advocate for disabled veterans, told Jewish Insider. He said that after studying Wexton’s background and record, “I set my sights on a new mission to return conservative leadership back to my home on behalf of my home and on behalf of my family.”

Dove told JI that “one of the things that I learned while serving in Iraq was, don’t take anything for granted.” He recounted memories of distributing school supplies to Iraqi schoolchildren. “Going to Iraq and going and being in war makes me think twice about reasons why we go and fight. I don’t necessarily think that we should be getting involved in every single conflict out there.”

This is not Dove’s first congressional run — in 2018, he challenged longtime Rep. Gerry Connolly (D-VA) in the neighboring 11th district, losing by nearly 44 points. Despite that loss, Dove said going toe-to-toe with a prominent Democrat like Connolly, who has won by significant margins against Republican opponents since redistricting in 2010 turned the district solidly blue, helped him identify his party’s weaknesses in campaigning, and prepared him to discuss and debate major issues.

Wexton won by more than 10 points in 2018, has stronger name recognition than either Republican and is better funded than her opponents. Jones has $77,000 on hand and Dove has $41,000, while Wexton has $1.8 million. Jones and Dove have both spent hundreds of thousands of dollars on their primary campaigns.

Given that the district is a long shot with an expensive media market, neither Republican should expect much additional investment in his campaign, John McGlennon, a professor of government at Virginia’s College of William & Mary, told JI.

“That district has been trending Democratic at a very fast pace, and I don’t see it turning around in this election,” he said.

But this is not Jones’s first battle against difficult circumstances — he fought to survive a gruesome injury and remain physically active and mobile following the amputation of his legs.

Rob Jones (Jones for Congress)

“When I first got wounded, a lot of people would struggle with that, with this drastic change in their life circumstances,” he said. “But one of the things I realized early on was my mom was going to be devastated, and so what was best for her was that I be fine, that I be okay with my injury. Because of that, I think it forced me to rise to the occasion.”

Since leaving the military, Jones has become an activist for wounded veterans, raising money through athletic achievements. He bicycled across the country, from Maine to San Diego, in 2013 and 2014, and ran 31 marathons on 31 consecutive days in different cities around the world in 2017.

“I was in this position where I felt this desire to continue to serve my fellow Marines and continue to serve my country in some capacity,” he said of the marathons. “I didn’t see any of the stories [in the media] where there was this kind of post-traumatic growth after coming back from the war. And so I wanted to make sure that both sides of that coin were told.”

Dove would also bring a unique perspective to Congress if he is elected. With Rep. Will Hurd (R-TX) retiring, Dove could become the only black Republican in the House. 

Dove is sharply critical of the way Democratic politicians address the black community. “It’s a shame that politicians on the Democratic side feel they need to do something… to show that they’re so called ‘down with the struggle,’” he said, referencing the announcement made by Democrats last week regarding a police reform package, which the party’s leaders made while wearing stoles with a traditional Ghanaian pattern

“And also they seem to like to talk to us in a certain way to make it seem like we’re not intelligent enough to handle normal English speech,” Dove added, focusing on Joe Biden’s controversial appearance on “The Breakfast Club” radio show. “It’s all pandering and it’s ridiculous. We don’t want to be talked at. The black community wants to be talked to, and heard.”

Dove blames the controversial 1994 crime bill for many of the issues regarding policing in black communities, noting that law enforcement became more aggressive toward black Americans following the legislation’s introduction into law. “When I was in high school, that legislation was first put in place,” he said. “And we could see the difference in how police reacted to us.”

Dove added that, although he has personally had negative experiences with police, including being pulled over and handcuffed, he does not see all police officers as an issue. “I think 99.9% of law enforcement is here to protect and serve us like they’re supposed to,” he said.

Dove praised the bipartisan First Step Act, which reformed federal prisons and sentencing, as a positive move toward meaningful criminal justice reform, and added that he wants to see more portions of the 1994 crime bill repealed. He also said he wants police to be better integrated into the communities they serve, rather than holding what he called an “us versus them mentality.”

He suggested that relations between law enforcement and communities could be strengthened with more direct outreach that brings police closer to the communities they serve.

It’s a mindset that can also be applied to his views on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Dove suggested that the parties need to directly engage in order to move forward.

Dove said he supports a two-state solution, but, “it’s ultimately not going to be our decision. It’s going to be the parties involved… They’re going to have to come together at some point and end this fighting. Because it’s not beneficial for either side to continue.”

Still, the Army veteran sees a role for the U.S. in the peace process — as a mediator in the conflict “making sure that both sides are at the table and continuing discussions and making sure no one is taking too much advantage of the other.”

Jones largely agrees. He also supports a two-state solution, and said the U.S. should “help them come to a solution between the two of them that both of them can be happy with.”

Republicans in the 10th district will pick their nominee at a drive-through convention this Saturday at Shenandoah University, where only pre-registered delegates will be permitted to vote. Also in the race are Matthew Truong, who emigrated from Vietnam at age 12 and built a career in the tech world, and Marine veteran Aliscia Andrews. The convention was originally scheduled for May 30, but delayed due to the coronavirus. A similar convention last Saturday in Virginia’s 5th district has raised significant controversy, but Saturday’s convention in Winchester is expected to go smoothly.

Jones, who announced his candidacy on the ninth anniversary of the attack that took his legs, is confident that delegates will pick the best person for the job — and that he is that person.

“I think the biggest thing is selflessness, acting on the best interests of people that you care about, places that you care about, things that you care about,” he said. “[That] is the key to overcoming anything and accomplishing anything in life.”

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