The candidate who positioned himself as the more conservative in the field emerged the victor and will become the Republican challenger in a decidedly uphill battle to unseat U.S. Rep. Don Beyer (D-8th).
Jeff Jordan defeated Mark Ellmore in the 8th District Republican Committee convention, held May 30 in Springfield as a “drive-through” event owing to public-health concerns and the ongoing prohibition of public gatherings imposed by Gov. Northam.
As part of his platform, Jordan said he would be aggressive in supporting unborn children, would protect the Second Amendman, would work to reform the Republican Party of Virginia and would attempt to strike a balance in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“The disease is a reality – [but] that does not allow the government to trample on our God-given rights,” he said.
Jordan, a defense contractor who spent 27 years in the U.S. Army, also suggested Ellmore was straddling too many political fences to motivate Republicans in the district.
“I’m the only conservative in this race – my opponent has chosen the middle ground,” Jordan said several days before the voting.
“At the end of the day, this is about winning,” Jordan said, citing past runs for office by Ellmore. “He’s stepped onto the stage three times before and come up short.”
Chances are that Republicans – no matter which candidate they had chosen – will again come up short against Beyer on Nov. 3. Virginia’s 8th District is among the most Democratic-leaning in the country.
But if he goes down, Jordan plans to go down swinging, saying the path proposed by Democrats will lead to ruin.
“Socialism is the antithesis of liberty. It’s full of brutality and misery – it’s essentially voting yourself into subservience,” he said in remarks to the Arlington County Republican Committee.
At that same meeting, held three days before the convention, Ellmore suggested Jordan was too far out on the right flank to have any chance of victory in the district.
“The hill [already] is high enough to climb,” he said, promising, if elected, to run a “positive, high-energy, vibrant campaign.”
“I want to win like nobody’s business,” Ellmore said.
(Both candidates promised that, if elected, they would give full support to President Trump’s re-election bid.)
At the May 30 event, Republicans also selected Michael Maibach as the district’s presidential elector, should President Trump win Virginia on Nov. 3. Convention voters also elected Barbara Bowie-Whitman, Bill Cleveland and Mark Kelly as delegates and Diane Cullo, Sean Lenehan and Andrew Loposser as alternates to the Republican National Convention.
Kelly was re-elected without opposition to a new two-year term as 8th District GOP chairman.
The 8th Congressional District includes all of Arlington, Falls Church and Alexandria, plus a portion of Fairfax County. Beyer in 2014 was elected to succeed fellow Democrat Jim Moran, who had served since 1991.
Beyer did not face an intra-party competition this year and goes into the election with a substantial war chest.