This Richmond suburb race gained national attention after the revelation that Gibson had performed sex acts with her husband online for money. Owen has not made the scandal a focus of his campaign, telling NBC12, “As far as whether it disqualifies her or not, that will be up to the voters in the district.”
In the immediate aftermath of the exposure of the pornographic videos, Gibson’s fundraising numbers surged through the roof, but her support plummeted among voters, clocking in at 38.9% to Owen’s 49.5% support.
Democrats in Virginia were vague about their support for Gibson after the scandal broke, maintaining their focus on winning majorities in both chambers. Some, however, were supportive, such as Democratic state Senate President Pro Tempore L. Louise Lucas, who asked supporters to “make this the biggest fundraising day of [Gibson’s] campaign.”
Gibson, at one point, held the endorsement of Rep. Abigail Spanberger (D-VA), but current support is unclear as the congresswoman deleted a post on X supporting Gibson.
Owen earned the backing of Gov. Glenn Youngkin (R-VA), Republican Lt. Gov. Winsome Sears, Republican Attorney General Jason Miyares, and former U.S. House Majority Leader Rep. Eric Cantor, a Republican.
Gibson, like most Virginia Democrats, made abortion access the central theme of the campaign, saying, “As a nurse practitioner, I know better than anyone that politicians have no place making decisions about women’s bodies and their healthcare.” She also advocated gun restrictions.
Owen focused his campaign primarily on the economy but also included education and lowering crime as top priorities, saying, “They’re concerned about what they’re paying for prices for groceries, prices for gas, and we will have the conversation about people going in spending $100 and walk out with one little bag of groceries.”