RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) – Republicans have set in motion an attack ad campaign against 12 Democrats running for the Virginia House of Delegates in November.   

The Virginia House Republicans’ first wave of attack ads targets 12 House districts, accusing the Democratic candidates of being “too extreme” on issues such as crime and tax relief. The ads were launched on July 3.  

The six-figure initial ad buy by the caucus comes ahead of crucial state elections on Nov. 7 when all 140 Virginia General Assembly seats are on the line.

“Democrats are fighting tax relief for hard-pressed families and they’re putting criminals ahead of victims. Voters rejected this vision in 2021,” Garren Shipley, the House Republican caucus spokesman, said in a statement alluding to Republicans taking the House and sweeping the three statewide elections two years ago. “They’re not going to support an even more extreme version of it now.”

The Nov. 7 races will be the first state legislative general elections under Virginia’s new political districts – which were drawn in late 2021 after the federally-required redistricting.

One Democratic incumbent — Del. Rodney Willett (Henrico) – and former state delegates Joshua Cole and Nadarius Clark are among the 12 Democrats being targeted in the attack ads.

According to the Virginia Public Access Project, a nonpartisan organization that tracks election data, Willett and Clark are running in blue-leaning districts while Cole is in a competitive district.

“They’re clearly getting nervous. Look at them. They’re scrambling to try to find any way to knock us off our game,” House Democratic Caucus Leader Del. Don Scott (Portsmouth) said in a statement Thursday. “They’re spending six and seven figures on empty ad buys and an early vote rollout that’s two years overdue because they’re seeing that the motivation and the energy is with us. It’s obvious they see this Democratic slate as a threat and to that I say, let them try.”

Here are the candidates being targeted with the attack ads:

  • Former Del. Joshua Cole, HD-65
  • Jarris Taylor, HD-86
  • Jessica Anderson, HD-71
  • Josh Thomas, HD-21
  • Karen Jenkins, HD-89
  • Michael Feggans, HD-97
  • Former Del. Nadarius Clark, HD-84
  • Phil Hernandez, HD-94
  • Del. Rodney Willett, HD-58
  • Susanna Gibson, HD-57
  • Travis Nembhard, HD-22
  • Kimberly Pope Adams, HD-82