Navy vet has Trump’s nod ahead of Virginia’s U.S. Senate primary, targets Tim Kaine in uphill battle

Political analysts have placed bets that Tim Kaine will win a third term in the U.S. Senate from Virginia. This is a state which hasn’t had a Republican elected to the upper chamber of Congress since 2002.

Republicans who want to take down the former vice-presidential candidate see an opportunity with President Biden as the head of the November ballot. Biden’s victory in Virginia in 2020 was by 10 percentage points, but GOP candidates claim that the equation has changed due to rising food prices, illegal border crossings, and crime in American city centers.

The Associated Press reported that Republican candidate Hung Cao – a 25 year Navy veteran with combat experience – said: “The only one who is better off than four years ago was an illegal alien.”

Mr. Cao is the candidate with the most experience and money in campaigning for higher offices in general elections among the five candidates in the June 18 primary. The former president Donald Trump has also endorsed him, saying that he would stop inflation, secure our border, and “defend the Second Amendment, which is always under attack.”

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In the 1970s, Mr. Cao fled Vietnam with his parents as a young child. In a video campaign, Mr. Cao compares the communist regime in Vietnam during the Cold War with today’s Biden Administration.

In the advertisement, Mr. Cao declares that “we are losing our nation.” The ad blames Mr. Biden on the criminal cases brought against Mr. Trump. It also shows footage of store lootings and border crossings. “You know it. You also know you can’t. We are forced to lie. “We’re forced into lying.”

Mr. Cao said to the AP Mr. Kaine was a “rubber-stamp” for Mr. Biden while the GOP base has been energized by the desire to end Mr. Kaine’s 30-year career in politics.

“If you’re looking for the nice guy, I am not your man,” Mr. Cao said. If you want someone to kick some tails, I’m the guy who’s going get this done.

It’s a big ask whether Mr. Cao, or anyone else running in the primary, can do it. Political scientists believe that the GOP has a slim chance of winning in Virginia, given its moderate electorate and the aversion voters have to Trump.

John Warner, who was a centrist independent with a last win in 2002, was the most recent Republican to hold a U.S. Senate Seat from Virginia.

Mr. Kaine’s last election in 2018 was won by 16 percentage points. He said that he is preparing himself for a difficult race this year, and that “Virginians are going to vote for Republicans at statewide races,” just as they did for GOP Gov. in 2021. Glenn Youngkin.

When he announced that he was running for reelection, Mr. Kaine said: “Nobody can just take it for granted.”

Three of the most respected political forecasters in the country, The Cook Political Report (also known as Inside Elections), Sabato’s Crystal Ball, and Inside Elections, at the University of Virginia, still list Mr. Kaine’s seat as a solidly Democratic one.

The Republican Party faces a steep climb in this state. This is especially true with a candidate that could be easily linked to Donald Trump, said Rebecca Bromley Trujillo. She is a professor of political science at Christopher Newport University and the research director for its Wason Center for Civic Leadership.

Scott Parkinson is another candidate who has a strong conservative background. He was formerly a congressional staffer for Ron DeSantis and now works for Club for Growth, an economic policy group that advocates conservative economic policies. Jonathan Emord, an author and lawyer, often talks about his success in fighting the Food and Drug Administration.

Eddie Garcia, an Army veteran who was formerly the Army liaison to Congress and now owns a mobile application that helps veterans of all branches of service, is a former Army liaison. Chuck Smith, a Marine Veteran and former Navy JAG Commander is an attorney.

Mr. Cao is distinguished by his Mr. Trump support and his campaign fund. According to Virginia Public Access Project, as of March 31, Mr. Cao had raised more than twice the amount of money of any of his competitors.

Mr. Cao made a good showing against Democratic U.S. Rep. Jennifer Wexton, in the blue-leaning Northern Virginia in 2022. He lost by 6.5 points in a district Mr. Biden had won by 19 points two years prior.

Cao’s general election strategy did not include winning Northern Virginia. “I only needed to move it in the same way that I did.”

Mr. Cao is not immune to controversy. The Staunton News Leader reported on Mr. Cao’s Unleash America super PAC making zero campaign contributions for Republicans running to the statehouse of 2023, despite the PAC stating that this was its stated goal. The PAC had received about $100,000 from individual donations.

Mr. Cao, who told the AP that the story was a “hit job,” said “there’s nothing there.” To radio host John Fredericks he explained further, stating the money would have to be spent on start-up costs, lawyers, and “compliance personnel.”

The News Leader reported the PAC expenses, which included legal fees as well as money for digital fundraising and a communications company. It also mentioned Mr. Cao’s campaign manager. Later, Mr. Cao told podcast host Alec Lace he had done nothing illegal and the story was published in a “podunk” local newspaper.

Some of Mr. Cao’s primary rivals and Democrats attacked him over the matter. Bromley Trujillo, a professor at Christopher Newport University, says that if Mr. Cao is elected, this will be a minor scandal in comparison to the challenges of gaining the support of moderate voters.

She said that it’s a problem all primary candidates will face. She said that they’ve all run campaigns largely to the left of Mr. Youngkin, who won his race three years earlier. She doesn’t think any of them will pivot to the center, after they clamoured for Mr. Trump’s endorsement.

As a 2021 candidate, Mr. Youngkin didn’t disavow Donald Trump, but he kept a distance from him. Mr. Youngkin focused on local and state issues as well, including parents’ frustrations with the pandemic of school closings and a call to end the grocery tax in California.

In addition to Mr. Youngkin, a Republican Attorney General and Lieutenant Governor also won statewide offices.

However, Mr. Youngkin won by only two percentage points. J. Miles Coleman is the associate editor at Sabato’s Crystal Ball. He questions whether Mr. Youngkin could have won the race if it had taken place after the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that the right to abortion would be abolished in the United States by 2022.

“Virginia tends be a little more red in odd-numbered years, because perhaps state issues are the focus of attention or Democratic enthusiasm may just be lower during those years,” said Mr. Coleman.

In 2023, Democrats, who had campaigned to protect abortion rights, will regain full control of Virginia’s General Assembly. This was a major defeat for Mr. Youngkin’s proposed 15-week ban on abortion with exceptions made for rape and incest, and for the life of the woman.

Meanwhile, Mr.