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Rep. Elaine Luria has been very visible this month, as the House Select Committee investigating the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the U.S. Capitol has been holding high-profile hearings that have grabbed national attention.
Luria, a former U.S. Navy commander turned two-term Democratic congresswoman in southeastern Virginia, has been a frequent guest on the cable news networks as the committee’s released new information and videos of the deadly storming of the Capitol by right wing extremists and other supporters of former President Donald Trump who were aiming to derail congressional certification of President Biden’s victory in the 2020 election.
In the pinned tweet at the top of her campaign Twitter page, Luria writes “as someone who served in uniform for 20 years, the work of the January 6th committee is serious and essential to protecting our democracy. This investigation has never been about politics, it’s about doing what’s right.”
But there may be political consequences for Luria, who’s the only potentially endangered Democrat sitting on the panel.
As Republicans aim to win back the House of Representatives majority in November’s midterm elections, Luria is one of the Democratic lawmakers in competitive districts they are heavily targeting.
The National Republican Congressional Committee, the re-election arm of the House GOP, earlier this month targeted Luria for sending out “fundraising emails in recent days asking donors to reward her ‘principled leadership’ on the committee.”
“Virginians want Elaine Luria to focus on the inflation crisis but instead she’s fundraising off a political circus,” said NRCC spokeswoman Camille Gallo.
The attacks don’t seem to bother Luria, who in a recent interview with the New York Times offered that “if I don’t get re-elected because of this, that’s OK.”
Luria – who served two decades in the Navy, spending most of her time assigned to Navy ships as she rose to the rank of commander – defeated GOP incumbent Rep. Scott Taylor in 2018, as part of the blue wave that led Democrats back to the House majority after eight years in the minority. And Luria, a moderate who’s known as a defense hawk, won re-election in 2020 in a rematch with Taylor.
The Virginia Beach-anchored district currently includes parts of Norfolk and Hampton, as well as Williamsburg, Poquoson, and the state’s Eastern Shore. But redistricting has done Luria no favors as she seeks a third term in the House, taking away everything north of the James River while adding parts of Chesapeake, Suffolk and the Isle of Wright. Political experts say the moves favor Republicans.
The Cook Political Report and other leading national, nonpartisan, political handicappers rate the district a toss up in November’s election.
Dave Wasserman, a Cook Report senior editor for House races, said that while there may be benefits to Luria’s high-profile role on the select committee, it’s not an issue that will make her re-election this year any less challenging.
“It helps her in the sense that her visibility will allow her to raise more money from Democrats. She could have more supporters engaged in her race and pounding pavement for her,” Wasserman told Fox News. “But I don’t think it’s the issue that independents are voting on this fall. So for that reason I don’t believe it helps or hurts her.”
The general election may end up being a battle of two veterans.
Four veterans are facing off in Tuesday’s GOP congressional primary, with the winner taking on Luria in November. Only one of them – state Sen. Jen Kiggans – has ever been elected to office.