A U.S. Navy veteran who’s run for office before announced Monday he’s seeking the Republican nomination for a congressional seat centered in Virginia Beach.
Ben Loyola, who previously ran for the 2nd Congressional District and for state Senate, said in a news release he wasn’t going to “sit around while Democrats try to destroy America by emulating the failed policies that have morally and economically bankrupted countries like Cuba, Venezuela and the former Soviet Union.”
If he wins the Republican nomination, he’ll likely be running against U.S. Rep. Elaine Luria, a first-term Democrat whose profile has been elevated since she began calling for President Donald Trump’s impeachment earlier this year.
Elaine Luria, who was elected to Congress in 2018, is a retired Navy commander who served on surface ships and carriers for 20 years.
Loyola, a 57-year-old native of Cuba who escaped the communist country to the U.S. with his family when he was 2, served 30 years in the Navy and retired as a captain.
He ran for the 2nd District in 2010, losing in a primary to Republican Scott Rigell. He was endorsed by the Hampton Roads Tea Party and the Virginia Taxpayers Alliance in that race.
In 2011, he was picked as the Republican nominee in a convention to run against Democrat Ralph Northam in the 6th Senate District. Northam won the Senate seat and went on to become governor in 2017.
Loyola said if elected, he would fight for veterans and the military, preserve health care, support limited immigration policies, push free market principles, and “always come down on the side on (sic) limited government.”
He lives in Virginia Beach with his wife and two daughters and owns an engineering firm, Loyola Enterprises.
Two other Republican candidates — Jarome Bell and Andy Baan — have filed for candidacy in the 2nd District, according to the Federal Election Commission.
Joseph Mach Mota has filed as a Democrat.
The 2nd Congressional District comprises Virginia Beach, the Eastern Shore and parts of Norfolk and the Peninsula.