Monday, October 8, 2012
Two years after a surge of tea party support helped send 87 Republican freshmen to the House, the newcomers are facing voters for the first time as incumbents. Most are in safe districts and all but assured re-election, but about two dozen are in competitive races.
GOP freshmen seem safest in the conservative South. Democrats' best chances of ousting them are in the East and Midwest, with tough races in states including New York, Illinois and Florida.
Republican Rep. Scott Rigell of Virginia is in one such race. Rigell's district focuses on the state's coastline and leans modestly Republican.
The freshman congressman casts himself as a lawmaker who will buck his party. Democratic challenger Paul Hirschbiel says Rigell supports extreme GOP proposals like a budget revamping Medicare.