Two Charlottesville-area candidates for the 5th Congressional District of Virginia may have very different views, but they both want the same thing.
They want to unseat and replace incumbent U.S. Rep. Bob Good, a Republican.
Dan Moy, a Republican challenging Good for the party’s nomination, and Josh Throneburg, the Democratic Party’s nominee for the November election, held simultaneous campaign events in the city Tuesday night.
Moy held a meet and greet at the 3twenty3 building in downtown Charlottesville, gathering with a small group of constituents for coffee and desserts. While Moy holds some similar views to Good, he said he sees Good as a missing politician, which is part of why he decided to run.
“[Good] has been missing-in-action when it comes to working on the issues that would address the problems in our local economy: opioid addiction, drug addiction,” Moy said. “Broadband access is still a problem in our area. Getting manufacturing and jobs back so our young people don’t leave the 5th District to go elsewhere. These are all highly relevant issues that are actually not partisan in nature.”
Moy, a retired Air Force colonel, said the most important issue to his campaign is the economy.
“People have lost faith in government leaders to do anything productive in their daily lives. This is why I’ve placed such a great emphasis on doing something to renew our local economy, the bread and butter issues that every day Virginians care about,” Moy said.
Other issues Moy is focused on are Second Amendment rights, defunding Planned Parenthood and supporting law enforcement. He also says he wants to work in line with Gov. Glenn Youngkin and prevent a “radical left” agenda in the state.
It was just a short walk away to go further left. At the Jefferson School African American Heritage Center, Throneburg held a community forum where a couple dozen constituents gathered to ask questions of the Democratic nominee.
Throneburg said he knows it’ll be a tough district to win, given its tendency to swing red.
“The district leans to the right, but there are lots of great spaces that are kind of new to the district,” he said. “We have Lynchburg, which is this incredibly diverse and lively community, and I think there’s a lot of opportunity for us to connect with folks there. We have a lot of these new counties that are coming out of the 7th District.”
The district boundaries across the state were redrawn in 2020 and are redrawn every decade following the census. The federal government requires districts have nearly equal populations and not discriminate on the basis of race or ethnicity.
In the past, some of the district lines made little geographic sense and were instead designed to give one party a better chance of winning the Congressional seat.
In Virginia, legislative district boundaries are now set by a 16-member commission comprising state legislators and non-legislator citizens. The General Assembly must vote to approve the maps without amending them.
If the General Assembly rejects the first set of draft maps, the commission must submit another. If the General Assembly rejects this second set of draft maps, the Virginia Supreme Court is tasked with enacting new maps.
The court approved the new districts at the end of last year.
Although the districts have changed, it didn’t necessarily make it easier, Throneburg said.
“It’s a challenging district, for sure, for Democrats to win in, but I think we have an opportunity here,” Throneburg said.
Throneburg said he’s running for the future of his children. A big focus of his campaign is mitigating the effects of climate change.
“When you’re a father, the thing you want most in this world is to create a space where your kids can be healthy and safe and thrive. And right now this planet and this country aren’t providing that, so I want to be a part of solving those problems,” he said.
Throneburg said part of his commitment to the future of children is his commitment to education. This includes investing more resources in schools with better pay for teachers, upgrading facilities and improving safety.
Throneburg’s campaign is focused on improved healthcare access and affordability, racial justice and protecting abortion rights. He said he believes in gun violence prevention but said he does not support taking guns away from gun owners.
Moy also voiced a focus on education, but said his concern is that parents should be able to have a say in what is being taught in the classroom. He said he believes in keeping “political agendas” out of schools.
“I think that there has been a concern that children are being challenged to question what they’re being taught in their homes and churches, to question whether those values are relevant or not in the school system. I think that we, as parents, should be completely aware of what our curriculum in schools is addressing, and we should have a voice in it,” Moy said.
Both Moy and Throneburg said they want to address issues affecting rural communities and fix broadband internet access issues across the state.