Five candidates are running in the Republican primary for U.S. Senate in Virginia on June 18

Five candidates are running in the Republican primary for U.S. Senate in Virginia on June 18, 2024. Hung Cao (R) and Scott Parkinson (R) have received the most media attention and endorsements.

Incumbent Sen. Tim Kaine (D) has served since 2013 and is running for re-election.

Political commentators have framed the primary within national politics, with the presidential election as a central issue. Virginia Mercury’s Graham Moomaw said, “The Republicans hoping to run against Kaine have … sought to tie the incumbent to the not-particularly-popular leader of the Democratic Party, portraying Kaine as a reliable ally to Biden and a supporter of Democratic economic and immigration policies that have contributed to Biden’s low approval ratings.”

Another prominent issue is the role of competing national endorsements. Former President Donald Trump (R) endorsed Cao on May 26, 2024. Trump congressional allies, such as U.S. Sens. Ted Cruz (R-Texas), Mike Lee (R-Utah), and Tommy Tuberville (R-Ala.), endorsed Parkinson. Also of note, Parkinson works for the Club for Growth. The group has a history of disagreements with Trump, including issuing competing endorsements in major congressional races and not inviting Trump to a donor retreat.

State party politics has also played a significant role in the primary. An April 15, 2024, report alleged that Cao misspent $103,489 in donations intended for Republican state legislative candidates running in 2023. Click here to learn more.

Cao is a retired Navy captain. He immigrated to the United States as a refugee from Vietnam in 1975. Cao said, “We are losing our country … we can’t let that happen. I’ve been all over the world; believe me when I tell you if America fails, there’s nowhere else to go. … I still believe America can be the land of opportunity. I have an obligation to fight back against those who want to control our lives and disrupt our families.”

Parkinson is the vice president of government affairs for the Club for Growth. He said he would be “a warrior for the middle class, honing in on the fiscal insanity in Washington, championing economic growth policies, defending parental rights in education, and restoring public safety on our streets” and “will fight for parents’ rights, veterans’ benefits against the bureaucracy, and senior citizens against Leftist radicals that want to end Medicare as we know it.”

Jonathan Walker Emord (R), Eddie Garcia (R), and Chuck Smith (R) are also running in the primary.