Jeweler David Nygaard announced that Friday he will be filing the paperwork to officially launch his candidacy for the Democratic nomination against Rep. Scott Taylor for Virginia’s 2nd District seat.
The owner of David Nygaard Fine Jewelers in Virginia Beach joins a crowded field of challengers, which includes a Republican primary challenger and five additional Democratic primary candidates.
Nygaard, a William & Mary graduate, may be running as a Democrat now, but was a Republican up until recently.
Although he has never held public office, Nygaard was an elector in 2008 for then-Republican presidential candidate John McCain. Nygaard’s father and McCain’s father both went to the U.S. Naval Academy and were lifelong friends. In 2012, Nygaard served as a delegate to the Republican National Convention for North Carolina, where he temporarily lived, and supported Mitt Romney for president.
However, Nygaard is less confident in Republican politics nowadays.
“We need a Democratic Congress,” Nygaard said. “Mainly to put a check on President Trump,” and to counter what Nygaard believes are laws benefiting the wealthy over the poor.
So what changed between then and now?
First, Nygaard survived a heart attack and realized that Obamacare was a useful construct which helped him get insurance with that pre-existing condition.
Republicans today are “primarily interested in removing your insurance,” said Nygaard, rather than ensuring that people have the care they need.
Another son of Nygaard’s was convicted of a felony and served his time, but now has difficulty integrating back into society, something that Nygaard wants to change. Nygaard’s platform will contain health care and criminal justice reform components.
When asked why Nygaard decided to run now, he turned to Taylor.
“Scott Taylor has poor constituent services,” and does not effectively communicate with those living in his district, said Nygaard. Taylor’s support of the recent tax overhaul also motivated him to run, as Nygaard believes the tax bill, along with other Republican initiatives, disproportionately benefit the rich over the poor.
Nygaard will be running against Gary Hubbard, Elaine Luria, Ernest Porter, Shaun Brown and Karen Mallard for the Democratic nomination.
Taylor currently faces one primary challenge from Mary Jones.
The deadline to file for candidacy is March 29th, 2018.
This article was published in partnership with our sister publication, Southside Daily.