Hung Cao

“Trump-Backed MAGA Stud” Hung Cao Wins Virginia Senate GOP Primary

(The Epoch Times)—Hung Cao, a retired officer in the U.S. Navy, won the Virginia Republican primary for the U.S. Senate on June 18. The Associated Press called the race for Mr. Cao shortly after polls closed in Virginia.

Mr. Cao, who earned an endorsement from former President Donald Trump, defeated four other Republican candidates: Jonathan Emord, Eddie Garcia, Scott Parkinson, and Chuck Smith.

Mr. Cao’s victory sets the stage for a November showdown with Sen. Tim Kaine (D-Va.), a popular incumbent who’s best known to most Americans as former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s 2016 running mate.

Mr. Kaine is a political powerhouse in the Old Dominion State, where he won his most recent election in 2018 by roughly 16 points.

Mr. Cao initially ran for federal office in 2022, when he attempted to unseat Rep. Jennifer Wexton (D-Va.). Mr. Cao came within six points of winning the district, bringing Democrats’ 13-point lead from the previous election down to just a 6 percent gap, but was ultimately unsuccessful in his bid.

Former President Trump endorsed Mr. Cao on May 26, 2024.

In a post to Truth Social, former President Trump said that Mr. Cao “ will be a tireless fighter to stop Inflation, grow our Economy, secure our Border, strongly support our Incredible Military/Vets, and defend our always under siege Second Amendment.”

Despite liking former President Trump, some Republicans voters we spoke with in the district expressed reservations about the nominee.

Steve Robinson, 75, of Loudoun County, told The Epoch Times that he doubted Mr. Cao’s ability to win the election.

Mr. Robinson said he was backing Mr. Emord, a constitutional lawyer. He said if Mr. Emord were elected, it would at least be “possible,” if “unlikely” for Republicans to flip the seat.

“If we don’t select him, or we elect Cao as our candidate, unfortunately he couldn’t beat Jennifer Wexton in the last election, so there’s no way he could beat Tim Kaine.”

Mr. Robinson indicated that he thought the endorsement was an effort to win increased Republican support among minorities.

The political arithmetic represents an uphill battle for Mr. Cao. Virginians last sent a Republican to the upper chamber in 2002. The last statewide vote to send a Republican to federal office came in 2004, when Virginians voted to reelect President George W. Bush.

But there are some encouraging signs for Republicans in the state. In the two most recent polls taken in the presidential contest, conducted by Fox News and Roanoke College, former President Donald Trump and President Joe Biden were locked in a dead heat.

Early polling indicates that whatever happens at the presidential level, Mr. Kaine still retains the advantage on the Senate level.

Earlier polling looked at a hypothetical match-up between the popular Gov. Glenn Youngkin and Mr. Kaine.

In those polls, Mr. Kaine led by between 2 and 5 points—which doesn’t bode well for Mr. Cao, who doesn’t have nearly the same statewide profile as Mr. Youngkin.

In a late April poll, pollsters asked voters who they’d choose in a hypothetical matchup between Mr. Kaine and Mr. Cao. In that poll, Mr. Kaine led by 12 points.

Still, with polls showing that Republicans are on track for a better performance in Virginia than they’ve seen in years, the seat remains a target for Senate Republicans.

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