Representative Randy Forbes (VA-4) announced Monday that he will not seek re-election in his current congressional district and will instead seek the GOP nomination to succeed retiring Rep. Scott Rigell in the neighboring 2nd District.
At a press conference streamed live over Facebook from Rigell's former campaign headquarters, Forbes stressed his experience and his chairmanship of the House Armed Services Committee's panel on Seapower and Projection Forces as reasons voters in the military-dependant Hampton Roads area should pick him as the nominee.
Rigell, who declined to seek re-election in the 2nd, endorsed Forbes, saying he has "proven leadership" and "is one of the 10 most influential people in Washington" on U.S. Navy issues.
A federal appeals court redrew the boundaries of Forbes' current 4th district, turning it from one that delivered solid Republican majorities to one favoring Democrats. Western portions of Forbes' district were added to that of fellow Republican House member David Brat.
Forbes centered his campaign on national security issues, stating that people have told him they "feel the country slipping through their fingers."
"They are concerned because this administration seems willing to dismantle the greatest military we have ever known," Forbes said, adding that while he has a committee chairman's gavel, his most effective tool is a pen, with which he can write the legislation that directly affects the military and civilian employees who call the 2nd District home.
Forbes noted that in addition to Rigell's endorsement, former Virginia senator and Navy Secretary John Warner was also backing his campaign.
Forbes is the third entrant into the 2nd District race. Virginia Beach attorney Pat Cardwell and Virginia Beach Del. Scott Taylor have already declared their candidacies.
Taylor, a former Navy SEAL, issued a statement critical of Forbes' entrance into the contest, and compared Forbes' action to that of leaving a fellow serviceman behind on the battlefield.
"I am very disappointed in his decision not to run in his own district, where he lives," Taylor said. "There is nothing in my DNA that tells me it is acceptable to leave your people behind to save yourself, regardless of the argument to do so."
"One of the beautiful things about the military is that we sacrifice ourselves so that others may gain," Taylor said. "What is wrong with many in the career political class is that they sacrifice others so they may gain."