"Suzanne Patrick is a dedicated public servant and impressive leader with experience as a fourth-generation military officer, and an executive who understands our changing global economy," said EMILY's List President Stephanie Schriock. "She has exactly what it takes to be a strong voice for the women, military and other working families and veterans of Virginia, and the EMILY’s List community — now over two million strong — is excited to get involved early in her campaign for Congress."

Patrick is one of House Democrats' top recruits and is running in a district President Obama carried by slim margins in both 2008 and 2012. She has a strong profile for the Tidewater-region district, which is heavily populated with military veterans.

But Rigell will be tough to beat. He's easily won reelection despite the district's lean against other opponents Democrats were bullish on, and has carved out a fairly centrist profile.

The congressman was the only Republican to vote against the House GOP's plan to continue to fund the government while defunding ObamaCare late last week, blasting the plan because it maintained the military cuts included in sequestration.