During the debate over the passage of the cap-and-trade bill in the House, freshman Democratic Congressman Glenn Nye wrote one letter to a constituent expressing his support for the bill another to a different constituent detailing his opposition to it. Nye also, despite not being in Congress when it passed, stated that he voted against TARP. These moments of confusion or misunderstandings symbolize the predicament Nye faces in this right-of-center Virginia district, which he took from Republican incumbent Thelma Drake in 2008.
On one hand, Nye must energize the African American vote in this district--a similar task to Obama's in 2008, only much harder because Obama's candidacy was historic, and minorities tend to not show up as much as white voters in midterm elections. On the other hand, he must peel off a critical mass of right-of-center voters who are angry and determined to go to the polls. Predictably, Nye, who was once a foreign service officer, has been attacked from the right and from the left (he has lost the endorsements of big labor groups). But unlike his freshman colleagues Tom Perriello and Gerry Connolly, Nye has tacked furthest to the right and, out of the trio, been the least responsive to President Obama's agenda.
Nye faces Republican Scott Rigell and independent candidate Kenny Golden. Rigell has run ads linking Nye to Nancy Pelosi and national Democrats. Rigell, an auto dealership owner, is a veteran in a military-centric district and an alum of Pat Robertson's Regent University's Business School, which is in this district. In an off-year election, these aspects of Rigell's bio will surely help him.