Hung Cao Looks Strong in Virginia's 10th Congressional District Democrat Rep. Jennifer Wexton left, and Republican challenger Hung Cao participate in a debate in Leesburg, Virginia, on Oct. 20. They are running to represent Virginia's 10th Congressional District. (Matthew Barakat/AP)
By John Gizzi Tuesday, 08 November 2022 07:22 AM EST Current | Bio | Archive
In one of the most unique and most-watched House races anywhere, Republican Hung Cao is now believed to overtake Democrat Rep. Jennifer Wexton in northern Virginia's election Tuesday.
"It's clear that the same conservative momentum that put Glenn Youngkin over the top in the last days of the race for governor last year is working for Hung now," former Prince William County Supervisor John Stirrup told Newsmax.
Stirrup was referring to the furor over the control parents were exerting over transgender issues and teachings in schools, which Youngkin strongly embraced in the twilight days of the gubernatorial bout in 2021 and which were key to his defeat of former Democrat Gov. Terry McAuliffe.
In the race for the House in the 10th District (Northern Virginia), two-termer Wexton has made it clear she does not support Youngkin's plan to require parental permission for public schools to call students by another name or pronoun and allow the use of school facilities based on the biological sex to which they belong.
The governor, Wexton said during a recent debate with Cao, was using transgender children as "political pawns," adding that under his policy, "those kids could be vilified even further."
Cao fired back at Wexton, declaring: "A school can't even give a kid an aspirin, but you're saying that schools can decide what sex your child is?"
He underscored his support for the governor's policy, saying he agreed with Youngkin that parents should make decisions regarding names, pronouns, and use of school facilities.
Although the issue has next to nothing to do with Congress, Cao's embrace of Youngkin's position is expected to give him a boost — much as it did for the governor himself last year. The last On Message poll conducted in mid-October showed Wexton leading Cao by 43% to 41%.
Cao himself has drawn both press attention and support well beyond the boundaries of the suburban Washington, D.C., district. The son of parents who fled Vietnam as it fell to the Communists in 1975 (when Cao was four), he graduated from the U.S. Naval Academy and spent 25 years in the Navy before retiring as a captain.
Over the summer, political neophyte Cao stunned Old Dominion politicians of both parties when he won the Republican nomination over nine opponents.
"Many of the Republicans, who were using the ranked-choice system for the first time, were meeting Hung for the first time," recalled Stirrup. "They liked his conservatism, they liked his story, and they sure liked him."
All opponents quickly rallied behind the newcomer nominee and as of last month, Cao had raised $1.4 million.
Of the three Democrat-held House seats in Virginia that are competitive, the 10th is the only one that Youngkin lost — albeit barely — in 2021. But the volunteer organization he built is in strong form and it is actively working for Cao.
John Gizzi is chief political columnist and White House correspondent for Newsmax. For more of his reports, Go Here Now.