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Virginia’s Scott Rigell Not Running for Re-election

Rigell was first elected to the House in 2010. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)
Rigell was first elected to the House in 2010. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Updated 5:23 p.m.:  Three-term Virginia GOP Rep. Scott Rigell announced Thursday that he will not seek re-election in 2016 because he’s achieved what he set out to do.  

“You might ask, ‘Why is now the time to leave?’ The answer is found in why I set aside all else and sought the office: to build a strong House majority that would check and balance the party that then controlled both political branches of the federal government. With your help we did just that,” Rigell said in a statement that includes a chart showing discretionary spending falling since he came to Washington.  

“I mention that accomplishment because the five-year point of service is, to me, a point of decision: has a meaningful difference been made and it’s time go home, or is serving in Congress a career and the hope is to serve much longer. Given the two alternatives, my belief in term limits, and in reflecting upon what my team and I have accomplished, I am at peace about coming home,” Rigell said.  

When he ran in 2010, Rigell  pledged not to serve more than 12 years. He will have served six when he leaves Congress. In making his announcement, Rigell said he would also keep his pledge to refuse all retirement benefits for which he qualifies.  

President Barack Obama narrowly carried the 2nd District twice, and Democrats will look to make this seat competitive in a presidential year. Under the redistricting plan implemented by a federal three-judge panel last week, the 2nd District loses part of its western territory.  

The GOP delegation has petitioned the Supreme Court to stop that map from going into effect for 2016. The Supreme Court has already agreed to hear the delegation’s appeal to the lower court’s finding that Democratic Rep. Robert C. Scott’s 3rd District is an unconstitutional gerrymander.

Republican sources mentioned several potential candidates for the seat:

  • Former state Sen. Jeff McWaters, who founded the managed-care firm Amerigroup and retired as CEO in 2007. Amerigroup became a Fortune 500 company, and McWaters has significant personal wealth. He’s close with Rigell and would be the frontrunner, according to several GOP sources.
  • Del. Glenn Davis Jr., a former member of the Virginia Beach City Council.
  • Del. Bill DeSteph, a Navy veteran and former member of the Virginia Beach City Council.
  • Del. Scott Taylor, a former Navy SEAL and Iraq War veteran, who’s been considering a run for lieutenant governor. 
  • Army Reserve Maj. Gen. Bert Mizusawa, who sought the GOP nomination for the 2nd District in 2010.
  • Ben Loyola, a defense contractor who also lost to Rigell in the 2010 primary.
  • Del. Chris Stolle, a Navy doctor.
  • Sen. Frank Wagner, whose state Senate district represents a large part of the congressional district. 

A Democratic source mentioned several names who might run for the seat:

  • Jody Wagner, state treasurer under then-Gov. Mark Warmer and secretary of finance under then-Gov. Tim Kaine. She ran for lieutenant governor in 2009 and narrowly lost a race for the 2nd District in 2000.
  • Paul Hirschbiel, who lost to Rigell by 8 points in the 2nd District in 2012, and is close to Warner.
  • Businesswoman Andria McClellan, who’s running for Norfolk City Council.

The Rothenberg & Gonzales Political Report/Roll Call is moving the seat to Leans Republican.

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