If you’re going to go down anyway, you might as well go down swinging.
That seems to be the feeling of Jeff Jordan, the Republican nominee attempting to unseat U.S. Rep. Don Beyer (D-8th).
It is akin to a kamikaze mission, with the 8th District being among the most Democratic in the nation, but Jordan used a debate sponsored by the Arlington County Civic Federation to press his political philosophy.
“I have fought socialism and tyranny my entire life,” he told the online audience. “I’ve fought the fight against people who only want to control. It’s hard work.”
“I’m going to pound this message, and pound it hard: Socialism has no place in this country.”
“You have people in power . . . who want to destroy what this country stands for,” he said later in the evening. “[It is] immoral, irrational . . . as repugnant as slavery.”
Beyer, perhaps not surprisingly, saw the situation a little differently. He said he hoped his three terms in Congress had been viewed as ones of “integrity, courage, compassion, humility.”
“We need leaders who will heal us, not divide us,” he said, pointing to his focus on addressing disparities in income and wealth.
“The American Dream is dead for 40 percent of our country,” Beyer said, while also pressing for a more robust amount of environmental legislation.
The upcoming election, he said, represented “a fight for the soul of America.”
Jordan countered that equality of opportunity, rather than equality of outcomes, is the promise of America, and said politicians were the problem, not the solution, in moving the nation forward.
“Trust in elected officials . . . is broken,” he said.
The 8th District includes all of Arlington County and the cities of Alexandria and Falls Church, plus a portion of Fairfax County. The seat was held by Jim Moran for more than two decades until his retirement in 2014, when Beyer won it.
Jordan defeated Mark Ellmore in the 8th District Republican Committee convention, held May 30 in Springfield. In that race, Ellmore positioned himself as the more centrist of the two, better able to reach out to Democrats and independents.
Convention-goers didn’t warm to Ellmore, who previously had run unsuccessfully in the 8th. They opted to nominate the 27-year Army veteran and defense contractor who proclaimed he was the only conservative choice.
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