by Garrett Frisk
In November, every seat in the Virginia state legislature will be up for election. Republicans, lead by Governor Glenn Youngkin, hope to win a state trifecta by holding the House of Delegates and flipping the state Senate. Democrats, meanwhile, hope that Virginia voters will deliver a crushing blow to Youngkin by giving Democrats control of the state legislature. But as both parties organize in anticipation of the 2023 elections, several Republicans have already begun laying the groundwork for 2024.
In Virginia's 5th congressional district, incumbent Republican Representative Bob Good is facing a primary challenge from a former intern. Gary Barve, a graduate student at Liberty University, interned in Good's office in the summer of 2022; less than a year later, Barve is running against his former boss, whom he calls "establishment Republican Bob Good." Barve says that he turned against Good after the congressman endorsed Ron DeSantis for president; this angered Barve, a loyal supporter of Donald Trump. It is worth noting that Barve has also filed to run for Senate in 2024, but it is clear that the House campaign is the one he is actually pursuing; his Senate campaign website is defunct and his House campaign Facebook page was updated as recently as a few days ago. Whoever prevails in the Republican primary will be favored to win the general election, as Good was re-elected with 57.6% of the vote in 2022. Barve's House campaign website can be found here.
In the 7th district, incumbent Democrat Abigail Spanberger is facing a trio of challengers. The first two are Republicans: Shaliek Tarpley, a program manager and former senior security specialist at the Department of Homeland Security, and Bill Moher, a business consultant and inventor. Tarpley's campaign website is down, but his campaign Facebook page can be found here; Moher's website can be found here. The third candidate is an independent: Craig Ennis, an electrician and National Guard veteran. Ennis ran for this district as a Republican in 2020 and 2022, but dropped out of the race both times. Ennis has confirmed that he plans for a third try in 2024, and this time he'll be leaving his party behind; the homepage of his campaign website reads "On Tuesday, November 5, 2024 vote CRAIG ENNIS ( INDEPENDENT ) for US CONGRESS Virginia 7th District." If any of the three reach the general election, they'll be in for a tough fight--this is a highly competitive district, and Spanberger was re-elected with just 52.2% of the vote in 2022.
Finally, in the 8th district, Republican Heerak Christian Kim is also going for round 3 after two previous failed attempts. Kim, a teacher, took just 2.4% of the vote at the Republican convention for this district in 2022; he also ran in 2020, but dropped out of the race. Even if Kim had made it out of the primary either time, he would have had a tough time unseating incumbent Democrat Don Beyer, who was re-elected with 73.5% in 2022. Additionally, since his 2022 campaign, Kim has faced controversy after calling for the execution of gay people and claiming that COVID-19 was God's punishment for homosexuality. In the first quarter of 2023, Kim raised $100, spent $477, and ended with $2,675 on hand. His website can be found here.