Rep. Glenn Nye (D)
Elected: 2008, 1st term.
Born: Sept. 9, 1974, Philadelphia, PA .
Education: Georgetown U., B.A. 1996.
Professional Career: U.S. State Dept. Foreign Service, 2001-03; Operations dir., USAID, 2003-07.
The new congressman from the 2nd District is Glenn Nye, a Democrat elected in 2008. He grew up in Norfolk, where his family has deep roots. He graduated from Georgetown University’s School of Foreign Service and joined the State Department in 2001. His first assignment was in the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, where civil conflict led the U.S. State Department to close the American embassy and evacuate its employees. Nye stayed behind and helped 26 Americans escape the country and negotiated the release of an American hostage held captive by insurgents. He later served in Singapore, where he worked on the U.S.-Singapore Free Trade Agreement. He also worked in Afghanistan on developing its constitutional convention and in Iraq on economic development and voter registration efforts.
|Glenn Nye (D)||141,857||(52%)||($1,334,146)|
|Thelma Drake (R)||128,486||(47%)||($2,033,543)|
|Glenn Nye (D)||Unopposed|
Nye returned to his hometown of Norfolk, where he decided to challenge incumbent Republican Rep. Thelma Drake in the 2nd District. Two years earlier, Drake had fended off Democrat Phil Kellam by only 51%-48% and was vulnerable. Nye quickly raised $100,000, which impressed national Democrats, and they targeted the seat, hoping strong registration efforts by the Obama campaign and the strength of U.S. Senate candidate Mark Warner’s campaign would tip the balance in Nye’s favor. Still, Drake’s strong base of support among military personnel made her a formidable candidate, and she outraised by almost Nye 2-to-1.
The candidates engaged in a mudslinging fest. Nye passed out literature hammering Drake for voting in May 2008 against an overhaul of the GI Bill that increased veterans’ benefits; he neglected to mention that she voted for a revised version of the bill a month later. At a September debate, Drake claimed Nye broke the law by accepting a tax exemption on a house he co-owns in Washington, D.C., and she questioned whether Nye actually lived in the congressional district. A spokeswoman for the D.C. Office of Tax and Revenue found the tax exemption to be legal, and Nye maintained that his primary residence was in Norfolk.
The bickering took a humorous turn when Nye ridiculed Drake for suggesting that actress-turned-humanitarian Angelina Jolie address members of Congress about the situation in Iraq. Drake’s campaign spokesman hit back by claiming Jolie’s input was just as valuable as Nye’s. The Virginia-Pilot’s endorsement of Nye—it endorsed Drake in 2006—may have been indicative of the impending political shift. Nye won 52%-47%, running slightly ahead of Obama district-wide, but well behind Warner.
House Democratic leaders gave Nye a seat on the Armed Services Committee, where he can look after the district’s military installations. He joined the Blue Dog Coalition, a group of fiscally-conservative Democrats. In one of his first legislative ventures, Nye was successful in adding a provision to the Democrats’ $787 billion economic stimulus plan to create tax credits of up to $2,400 for businesses that hire unemployed veterans.