Both congressional candidates in central Virginia are on the airwaves, with Democrat Cameron Webb rolling out a television ad to introduce himself to voters and Republican Bob Good attacking Webb.
The contest in the 5th Congressional District is shaping up to be a competitive one as Good and Webb seek an open seat after Good defeated Rep. Denver Riggleman, R-Nelson, in a convention earlier this year.
The two candidates recently rolled out their first TV ads for the general election on Nov. 3. The themes have stark contrasts.
Webb’s ad, which hit the airwaves last week, introduces himself as a doctor who is married to another doctor, and they have two children together. His mother worked in public schools, and his father worked in the Drug Enforcement Administration.
“Growing up here in Virginia, family comes first,” he says in the one-minute ad showing images of his family and tending to patients. “Our faith kept us centered and we worked hard for everything we got.”
Webb, 37, is an internal medicine doctor and director of health policy and equity at the University of Virginia. Webb served on President Barack Obama’s health care team and worked on Obama’s My Brother’s Keeper, a White House initiative to address opportunity gaps boys and young men of color face.
“I’m running because we have to do better,” he says. “Like stopping big insurance from gaming our system, protecting Medicare, and lowering the cost of medication and guaranteeing the free market gives us choices in our care.”
Good’s first ad goes after Webb, saying he has “radical ideas” and is “way too liberal.” The 30-second ad opens with images of flames, people banging on a building and police arresting people.
“With chaos in our streets, Cameron Webb would make things worse,” a narrator says.
The ad says that Webb “would defund the police.”
Webb has not advocated for defunding law enforcement. He’s also emphasized that his father worked at the DEA for more than two decades as a human relations manager and performed other roles, such as helping develop federal law enforcement training programs.
“When I talked to my dad about why he got into federal law enforcement, he said that, as a Black man in the South and understanding the dynamics of policing, he could think of no better way to have an impact than to make sure we have well-trained, experienced officers,” said Webb, who is Black. “Because of that, I have a deep respect for law enforcement.”
The ad also says that Webb would “force you into government-run health care.” Webb supports a public health insurance option so that people who prefer their private insurance can retain it.
“Look past the smooth presentation,” the ad warns about Webb.
Webb responded to the ad with a statement saying that “shamefully, my opponent put fear over facts” and told voters nothing about himself.
“Scratch that, he just told us a lot about himself,” he said.
Good, 54, is a former Campbell County supervisor and former Liberty University employee. He’s described himself as a “bright red Biblical and constitutional conservative.”
In a recent email to supporters, he said, “Our country and our very way of life are under assault.”
“The incredibly brave men and women of law enforcement and our very rule of law are under siege across our country,” he wrote. “It’s infuriating to watch as America burns and mobs of thugs chant ‘abolish the Police’ and ‘abolish America.’ ”
The recent string of shootings targeting police officers and the killings of Black men by police officers in other states have pushed social unrest to the center of the presidential campaign, but it’s expected to become a major issue in congressional races as well. Republicans are campaigning on the theme of “law and order” and backing law enforcement.
“We have seen what these rioters have done in America’s cities, including right here in Virginia,” Good wrote in his message.
The 5th Congressional District is Virginia’s largest geographically, stretching from Fauquier County to the North Carolina border and including Franklin County and part of Bedford County.
After Good unseated the incumbent, political analysts at Cook Political Report and “Crystal Ball” at the University of Virginia’s Center of Politics have the race from likely Republican to lean Republican.
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