- Associated Press - Thursday, May 29, 2014

RICHMOND, Va. (AP) - Virginia Democrats in the 5th Congressional District are set to pick a candidate Saturday to challenge incumbent Republican Rep. Robert Hurt.

Democrats will decide between Lawrence Gaughan and Ben Hudson during a convention at Fluvanna County High School in Palmyra.

Gaughan in an actor who helped start a nonprofit called Gov360 aimed at increasing voter turnout. Gaughan said he recently played a Secret Service agent in the HBO series “VEEP” and had to turn down an “almost guaranteed” role as a White House reporter for the Netflix series “House of Cards.”

His platform includes promoting clean energy and raising the minimum wage.

Gaughan said he’s already locked up enough delegates to beat Hudson and Saturday’s convention will be a “just a formality.”

“We’ve pretty much locked up the nomination,” he said.

Hudson, a middle school teacher and former Army officer, said that’s untrue.

“I think my chances are very good, actually,” he said.

Hudson said he and Gaughan share similar ideologies, but he thinks delegates will be drawn to him because of his work experience.

Both Gaughan and Hudson said they plan to make Hurt’s opposition to the Affordable Care Act a key part of their general election campaigns.

Lisa Hystad, chair of the Democratic Party of Virginia’s 5th Congressional District Committee, said delegates will also have the option of not picking a nominee.

Virginia’s congressional districts were redrawn after the 2010 census, giving considerable advantage to incumbents like Hurt. He was first elected in 2010 and easily won re-election 2012.

Hurt had more than $378,000 in his campaign account through the end of March, campaign finance records show. Hudson’s most recent campaign finance disclosure showed that he had less than $40,000 in cash on hand, with Hudson self-financing most of that amount. Gaughan has not yet filed a report.

The 5th District stretches through central Virginia nearly the entire length of the state and includes Charlottesville and Danville.

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