In 2011, state Del. Randy Minchew handily won the new 10th District against standing Leesburg Vice Mayor David Butler after serving as Gov. Bob McDonnell's legal adviser.
Democrat Monte Johnson is challenging Minchew this election cycle.
Johnson, a 32-year-old graduate of William and Mary where he studied public policy, is making his first run at public office. Residing in Ashburn with his wife, Jackie, Johnson works as a senior consultant at one of the “Big Four” consulting firms.
Johnson said the bad publicity Virginia has recently seen was a major contributor in his decision to run for office.
“Virginia is a great state, but I see my state showing up on TV for the wrong things. We are scaring people away. I know people who work in Virginia and are moving to nearby states because of the policies here,” Johnson said. “We are dividing people and we are pitting Virginians against each other and we need to focus on what state government is about. That is ensuring people have what they need to thrive and enjoy their lives.”
Incumbent Minchew, a Republican, has lived and worked in the 10th District for 20 years. Minchew owns his own law practice in Leesburg and has served in a variety of different economic and government commissions and boards.
While the 10th District spans parts of Loudoun, Frederick and Clarke counties, there are several issues that have jumped to the forefront of voters' minds this election season.
With the passing of the transportation bill this year, road projects have become a major issue with voters, particularly the highly criticized Bi-County Parkway.
Minchew, who has served on the Transportation Committee, is concerned with the way the parkway is currently proposed.
“I get heartburn with the way the road is proposed right now. Do I support it the way it is proposed by VDOT? Not right now,” Minchew said. “Loudoun has planned it to be more of a local serving major collector road. The issue I have is back in May, the CTB said they may have to put in a toll network and that is a deal killer for me. I am also concerned a limited access road could really be disruptive for neighborhoods down near John Champe High School.”
Johnson said he's listening to his potential constituents' concerns with the project while going door-to-door.
Johnson is completely against the idea of the parkway, but for a simpler reason.
“I am against the Bi-County Parkway because our commuters are going east-west, not north-south. We want them to get to work as easily as possible and I don't see how this project does that,” Johnson said. “The price tag is also very big. We need to maximize the funds we have and we need to fix different areas and roads and diversify transportation. Improving quality of life is key.”
Expanding Virginia's Medicaid
With the federal government's recent shutdown due to a number of issues, including healthcare, Medicaid expansion in Virginia has surfaced as an important issue in the upcoming state election.
With Virginia not yet having decided whether to expand Medicaid under the Affordable Health Care Act, Minchew and Johnson realize the issue will be big for state representatives moving forward.
Minchew said he supports reforming Medicaid before expanding coverage to 400,000 in Virginia.
He said he assumes that the federal government will not hold it's end of the bargain in years to come and Virginia will be left with a large bill that it can't pay without cutting from other sources.
He wants to know if the state can retract on expansion if the money is not there. "No one has answered that question," he said.
Johnson is for opting into the Medicaid deal, saying he fully expects the federal government to follow through on its promise to not leave the state without funding.
“There is no reason for us to make the people here in Northern Virginia suffer for partisan games and that is really what it is,” Johnson said. “There are legal mechanisms the General Assembly can do to cover for the possibility the federal government doesn't do what they say they will do.”