Hanger wins Republican primary for 24th district

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(AP) — A longtime Virginia Republican lawmaker who was an outspoken supporter of expanding Medicaid has held off a primary challenger in the 24th Senate District race.

Sen. Emmett Hanger defeated Tina Freitas in a Republican primary Tuesday with 57% of the vote. Hanger represents a region in the western part of the state. He will face Democrat Annette Hyde in the November general election.

He was key in getting Medicaid expansion passed in Virginia last year, even defeating his own party's plan to derail the effort during one committee hearing.

The state's hospitals spent heavily to help Hanger win the GOP nomination.

Hanger was one of three Republican lawmakers who voted for Medicaid expansion last year and faced a nomination battle this year.

Several Republicans voted for Medicaid expansion in 2018 after years of near unanimous opposition.