Retired Navy captain and Purcellville resident Hung Cao on Saturday won the Republican Party nod to run against Rep. Jennifer Wexton (D-VA-10) for the 10th Congressional District seat in November.
Cao won by an 18-point margin on a ranked-choice distributed caucus ballot from among 11 candidates. The victory came in the ninth round of balloting, when he achieved 52.8% of the 15,174 votes cast. Prince William County Supervisor Jeanine Lawson finished second followed by Brandon Michon.
Cao said he wasn’t surprised by his win, but was taken aback by his victory margin.
Cao, a combat veteran of Iraq, Afghanistan and Somalia, who was a child when his family fled Vietnam as refugees, blames the progressive caucus for illegal immigration, inflation and supply chain issues. He called education the “final straw.”
“We shouldn’t have been pushing CRT and mask mandates. Kids are being kicked out of school because they’re not wearing masks, back a few years ago if a kid misses more than 10 days of school it’s called truancy. But now you’ll kick a kid out of school because they came close to somebody who had COVID,” he said. “It’s really taken a wrong turn where the federal government has overreach. So what I want to do in Congress is make sure there’s not overreach.”
While mask mandates in Loudoun schools were dropped months ago following a judge’s order, Cao said seeing other states returning to COVID mitigation protocols worries him. He cites funding for new ventilation as a wiser measure for mitigation.
While investigations and prosecutions following the January 6, 2021, riot at the Capitol cast a heavy cloud over most of Washington, he said what concerns him most is that perpetrators who left explosive devices outside of the DNC and RNC headquarters the day before are still at large.
Cao also nodded toward the long-debunked conspiracy theories that fueled that day’s attack on the seat of American democracy.
“It’s very hard to understand how a person who hid in their basement the entire time got more votes than Barack Obama. It’s just very hard for me to understand that,” Cao said. “You’re telling me you’re too scared for your life to have somebody certify an absentee ballot? There’s definitely a lot of anomalies and a lot of rules that were not followed.”
Despite multiple lawsuits and investigations there has been no evidence of widespread voter fraud in the 2020 election.
As Democrats raise their voices for gun control in response to the 198 mass shootings in the U.S. so far this year, Cao falls in line with the stance of many GOP officials.
“Gun control has never stopped anyone. Most people get bludgeoned to death and stabbed to death then they get shot. I mean it’s a tragedy, it’s an absolute tragedy. But if it’s not guns, it’s going to be with pipe bombs, or knives or hammers,” he said. “It’s just evil. There’s a lot of evil in the world, and we’re not going to stop it with gun control.”
As for infrastructure, Cao said not enough focus is being devoted to roads or broadband.
“A lot of the bill handles charging stations for the electric vehicles that not many of us own. It goes to Critical Race Theory issues,” he said. “We need to make progress there. Especially down in Rappahannock, those poor guys, you can’t even get cellphone service down there.”
Rappahannock County is the southernmost portion of the new 10th district, which was redrawn after the 2020 Census. Instead of reaching east and west, the district now reaches from Loudoun south through Fauquier and Rappahannock counties, Manassas, Manassas Park, much of Prince William County and a part of southwestern Fairfax County.
Following Cao’s nomination, Wexton released a statement, doubling down on her track record on infrastructure and post-pandemic economic recovery.
“I’ve fought hard during my time in Congress to help families and small businesses weather the COVID crisis, enact legislation to create good-paying jobs by rebuilding our infrastructure, deliver key federal investments for our district through my role on the Appropriations Committee, author bills to support victims of abuse and domestic violence, and hold the Chinese government accountable for their human rights atrocities,” she shared.