CHESAPEAKE, Va. – Three Republicans are seeking to fill the vacancy created by Sen. John Cosgrove deciding not to seek re-election.
Tim Anderson, Jeff Bruzzesi, and Christie New Craig are all on the ballot in the June 20 Republican Primary for the 19th Senate Seat, which includes parts of southern Chesapeake and Virginia Beach.
New Craig is a former Chesapeake School Board member, who also served as Cosgrove’s Chief of Staff.
“It’s being up in Richmond for 22 years and working across party aisles. There’s a lot of things we can agree on as Republicans and Democrats, but there are things that I will not fold on. I’m a true proven conservative,” said New Craig.
Anderson is an attorney who was representing Virginia Beach and Norfolk in the House of Delegates. Redistricting paired him with a fellow incumbent, so he resigned to move into the Senate district and run.
“I think that I’m the best candidate because I actually have the tenure as a member of the General Assembly. I have the legislative tenure. [New Craig], although she is an assistant to a senator, I think I’m the best candidate,” said Anderson.
Bruzzesi says he’s a political outsider who owns Closet Factory in Virginia Beach. He believes his business experience sets him apart.
“I’m a business owner. I have a different perspective on how to get things done. I’m a political outsider, which I think gives me a different view on things,” said Bruzzesi.
On the issues, the three of them seem to agree on a lot.
They all say they’ll fight for second amendment rights, push for parental involvement in schools, and say they’ll support law enforcement.
Anderson has proposed eliminating the personal property tax, which is a tax on cars that goes to local governments. It would require a constitutional amendment.
“I do believe government is too big. I do believe government needs to materially shrink. I do think we can eliminate the car tax by shrinking the size of government,” said Anderson.
“I would definitely support getting rid of the car tax. As a business owner, about 40-percent of what I pay is in taxes,” said Bruzzesi.
“If we’re going to take that away, we’re just going to either put it on your real estate or loss of services, so people are going to pay it either out of their left pocket or their right pocket. I don’t want to do that. I want to look at tax reform,” said New Craig.
So far, the campaign among the three has appeared to stay cordial, but a recent post mocking Democrats on Facebook raised eyebrows, where he said .
“Is that something you think is funny and you stand by posting?” News 3 asked Anderson.
“It’s a political parody. It’s silliness and that happens in politics. It’s certainly not something I would put in my yard,” replied Anderson.
With under two weeks to go, the candidates say they’re hard in what’s expected to be a low turnout election.
“It’s going to take the voters to decide I’m going to have to get enough votes to win and we’re working very hard to do that,” said Bruzzesi.
“I think it’s anyone’s race, I don’t think anyone who can say who’s going to win, whether it’s me or the other two,” said Anderson.
“I’m excited to continue to do this. We’re going to kick it up a notch a little,” said New Craig. “I’m a fighter. I don’t think anything for granted.”
Primary Election Day is June 20th with election analysts giving the advantage to the Republicans heading into this fall’s General Election.