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Rashid defeats Williams to win Democratic nomination in 1st District congressional race

Rashid defeats Williams to win Democratic nomination in 1st District congressional race


Qasim Rashid won Tuesday’s Democratic primary over Vangie Williams to earn his party’s nomination to challenge Rep. Rob Wittman for the 1st District seat in U.S. Congress in the Nov. 3 general election.

Also Tuesday, Republicans picked Daniel Gade to be their nominee and face off against U.S. Sen. Mark Warner, a Democrat who is seeking his third term as senator.

Complete, but unofficial returns, show Rashid winning 19,727 to 17,780 over Williams.

“We’re grateful to the people of the 1st District for trusting us, believing in our message of compassion through action, fighting for working families, recognizing that we need to elevate our discourse to one of civility of holding justice supreme above all else,” said Rashid, a human rights attorney and author who lives in Stafford County.

Wittman, who has represented the 1st District—which stretches from Prince William County through the Fredericksburg area and the Northern Neck to Hampton Roads—since 2007. Last year, Rashid lost to incumbent Republican Sen. Richard Stuart by about 10,500 votes in the state Senate 28th District race.

“We have a long way to go until November, and we intend to continue to fight with justice, fight with civility and compassion and make sure that the working families of Virginia’s 1st District know that they have a voice ready to represent them in Congress,” said Rashid.

Williams, a defense contractor who lives in King George County, said as a result of the coronavirus pandemic, the campaign leading up to the election was far different than any election she has ever witnessed.

“It was a race where we couldn’t physically touch people and talk to them where they stand, and it made a big difference,” said Williams. “I’m not upset. I didn’t lose this election; I learned.”

Rashid said he is grateful to Williams, who he said is well respected and a recognized leader in the community.

“She’s worked extraordinarily hard and the results show that,” said Rashid.

Williams had advice for Rashid in the upcoming November election:

“Run hard, run strong, keep your head up and go out there and do great things,” said Williams.

Democrats in the western part of the state selected physician Cameron Webb to run in a district that Democrats hope is more competitive after social conservatives ousted the incumbent after he officiated a gay wedding.

The stage is also set for a fierce rematch for what was one of the most hotly contested congressional seats in the country two years ago.

Former congressman Scott Taylor won the Republican primary for his Virginia Beach-area district Tuesday, positioning him to face U.S. Rep. Elaine Luria again this fall.

Luria defeated Taylor by about two percentage points in 2018, helping Democrats take control of the U.S. House and flipping a district that President Donald Trump won in 2016.

Taylor, a former Navy Seal who was endorsed by President Donald Trump, won handily against two other GOP opponents.

Taylor was going to run for the U.S. Senate this year but changed his mind to challenge Luria again. He has said one of his reasons for running again is his opposition to Luria’s decision to vote to impeach the president.

Luria, also a Navy veteran, made clear that she plans to highlight the cloud still lingering over Taylor’s last campaign. A handful of Taylor’s staff members were accused of forging signatures to place an independent “spoiler” candidate on the ballot to siphon votes away from Luria. Two former Taylor staffers have been charged. Taylor has maintained that he was unaware of any wrongdoing.

“The last thing Virginians need is a failed congressman who focuses on Twitter fights while trying to sweep his election fraud scandal under the rug,” Luria campaign manager Veronica Ingham said in a statement.

Taylor did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Gade defeated two other Republican candidates to earn the right to face Warner in the Senate race. Warner barely won six years ago against former Republican National Committee Chairman Ed Gillespie, but no experienced Republicans wanted to take Warner on this time around.

Once a key swing state where Senate elections were decided by small margins, Virginia has swung solidly blue in the Trump era as voters in the state’s growing suburbs reject the president’s agenda. Republicans haven’t won a statewide election in more than a decade.

Gade is a retired Army officer who was seriously injured in Iraq in 2005, losing a leg after his Humvee was hit by a roadside bomb. He advised President George W. Bush on military and disability issues and was Trump’s appointee to serve on the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, but withdrew his nomination after a lengthy delay in the Senate over his confirmation. Gade previously taught at West Point and now teaches at American University.

If elected, Gade pledged not to be a “rubber stamp” for the president but said Trump is “good on the policies that I care about,” including religious liberty.

—Associated Press reporters Alan Suderman and Denise Lavoie contributed to this story.

James Scott Baron:


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I spent 23 years in the Navy in media relations and as a reporter. Prior to coming to The Free Lance-Star in 2019, I volunteered with a local non-profit that helps formerly incarcerated people transition back into society. I'm also an avid motorcyclist.

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