The Virginia 1st congressional district election, 2008 was held on November 4, 2008, the same day as the United States presidential election, 2008. The candidates appeared on Cathy Lewis' TV program, What Matters, on October 15. The candidates held a spirited and well-attended debate on October 22 in which differing opinions on health care and the economy played a central role. Wittman defended his vote against the bailout package, while Day said he would have voted for it, and Larson said that it would have been better for the economy if the banks had been allowed to fail. On Medicare, Wittman advocated restructuring the system, while Day argued for expanding it and Larson shocked the audience by calling for its abolition. Wittman won the election.
Day earned a bachelor's degree in construction from Arizona State University in 1974, an MBA from Harvard in 1983, and a master's degree in counseling from West Virginia State University in 1991. He resides in Fauquier County where he worked as a mental health counselor. Day is very active in the community, and has volunteered with Habitat for Humanity in both Fauquier and Prince William County, and Mend A House in Prince William County. Day is an advocate of energy independence and renewable energy technologies.
The Democratic Party of Virginia held its convention on May 17 in Williamsburg, Virginia and selected Keith Hummel, the only person running for the Democratic nomination at the time. Only four votes were cast to not nominate anyone. A Westmoreland County physician and self-described "populist Democrat", Hummel also operates a farm and winery. The issues he was running on included enacting trade and tax policies to protect American jobs and American interests (rather than those of a few multinational corporations); using the military for defense rather than offensively; providing better health care and other benefits to veterans; and universal health care.