RICHMOND, Va. (AP) — Facing a difficult road to re-election thanks to a new congressional map, Republican U.S. Rep. Randy Forbes announced Monday that he is switching to a more GOP-friendly district.
Forbes announced via Facebook that he is running for Virginia’s 2nd District and not the 4th District, which he currently represents.
The conservative lawmaker emphasized his seniority in the U.S. House, particularly on spending matters affecting the Navy and Marines. Forbes said his budget pen was invaluable to a state with a heavy military presence and the biggest naval base in the country.
“One of the things that we’ll be talking about for the next several months is a decision, not about my future, but about our future,” Forbes said. “And whether or not we want to take that pen out of the hand of a Virginian and give it to somebody in Florida or Texas, or California.”
Retiring 2nd District Rep. Scott Rigell joined Forbes to endorse the new candidacy.
Both districts include parts of Hampton Roads. The 4th District stretches from Chesapeake to parts of central Virginia. The 2nd District includes Virginia Beach and the Eastern Shore.
Forbes did not say whether he would move to the 2nd District, though he’s not required to do so to run for the seat.
Last month a federal court picked a new congressional map for Virginia that significantly changes the racial makeup of Forbes’ district, giving Democrats hope they can flip that seat.
The Democratic Party of Virginia panned Forbes for switching districts, calling it a “desperate plan.”
Attorney Pat Cardwell and state Del. Scott Taylor are also pursuing the GOP nomination to replace Rigell.
Taylor, a former Navy Seal, was also critical of Forbes’ decision to try to switch districts.
“There is nothing in my DNA that tells me it is acceptable to leave your people behind to save yourself, regardless of the argument to do so,” Taylor said.
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