Rep. Elaine Luria Defeats Scott Taylor in Showdown Between Navy Veterans in Virginia

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Elaine Luria, the U.S. representative for Virginia's 2nd Congressional District
Elaine Luria, the U.S. representative for Virginia's 2nd Congressional District, speaks during the Flame of Hope Rededication Ceremony in Virginia Beach, Virginia, on Feb. 3, 2020. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Mark Thomas Mahmod)

Rep. Elaine Luria, a Virginia Democrat and retired Navy commander, edged out her Republican challenger to keep her seat in the House.

Luria beat Scott Taylor, a former Navy SEAL, in a race that proved too close to call on election night. The retired Navy surface warfare officer has represented Virginia's 2nd Congressional District, which includes Norfolk and Virginia Beach, since 2019.

On Tuesday, Luria asked Virginians for their votes "so we can continue to do good work -- like expanding access to affordable health care, protecting the benefits our veterans have earned, and [continuing] to rebuild our economy."

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Luria, who serves on the House Armed Services and Veterans' Affairs committees, has been a hawk on Navy issues, including readiness, maintenance and spending. She has pressed service leaders to explain shortfalls with the aircraft carrier Gerald R. Ford, which have left it delayed and over budget, once referring to the ship as a $13 billion "berthing barge."

The fight to retain her seat was not Luria's first political battle with Taylor. The two Navy veterans faced off in 2018, when Luria unseated Taylor, who'd been representing the district in Congress since 2017.

Taylor took an early lead in the close race against Luria on Tuesday. But as results from absentee and early voting ballots rolled in Wednesday, the retired commander overtook him, the Virginian-Pilot reported.

Luria was one of several female veterans facing reelection in Congress this week.

Sen. Martha McSally, an Arizona Republican and retired Air Force colonel, lost her Senate seat to Democratic challenger Mark Kelly, a retired Navy captain. Sen. Joni Ernst, an Iowa Republican and retired National Guard officer, beat out Theresa Greenfield, her Democratic challenger, to win reelection.

A dozen veterans picked up new congressional seats in this week's election. That includes Ronny Jackson, another Navy retiree, who served as President Donald Trump's physician and picked up a House seat in Texas.

-- Gina Harkins can be reached at gina.harkins@military.com. Follow her on Twitter @ginaaharkins.

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