Election watchers had said if there indeed was a ‘suburban revolt’ and ‘blue wave’ in Tuesday’s 2018 mid-term election, the results in Virginia’s 7th district race would be a prediction. Results are in and it’s being reported that Democrat Abigail Spanberger has defeated Trump loyalist and Tea Party incumbent GOP Rep. Dave Brat in the reliably Republican district.
It was a nail-biter all night. The polls closed at 7 p.m. and it wasn’t until 11 p.m. when the race was called by NBC.
The 7th district voted for President Trump in 2016 by a margin of nearly 7 points.
And according to the Virginia Department of Elections, as of 11:30 p.m., with 99.12 percent of all precincts reporting, Spanberger garnered 169,125 votes or 50.04 percent of the vote. Brat received 164,596 or 48.70 percent of the vote.
Pre-election polls showed Spanberger and Brat neck-and-neck in the rural and suburban-Richmond district, which has been solidly Republican for decades, saw Trump win by more than 7 percentage points in 2016.
“I’m honored to stand before you as the Congresswoman-elect,” she told cheering supporters just after 11 p.m.
Here’s what you need to know:
Spanberger, 39, is a Native Virginian, UVA Graduate, CIA Agent & Girl Scout Leader
Spanberger grew up in Short Pump, in Henrico County, part of the 7th district which includes the Richmond suburbs and stretches north to Culpeper and south to Nottoway.
Spanberger attended J.R. Tucker High School’s Spanish immersion program, served as a Senate Page for US Senator Chuck Robb (D-VA), and graduated from the University of Virginia. After college, she moved to Germany where she earned an MBA from a dual-degree German-American program between Germany’s GISMA Business School and Purdue University.
In a campaign ad, Spanberger’s three daughters talk about their mom and how she started her oldest daughter’s Girl Scout Troop. She said, she’s “not a superhero. I am a former CIA officer and a mom.”
She and her husband Adam, also a UVA graduate and engineer, live with their children in Glen Allen, Virginia.
Spanberger began her career of public service as a federal law enforcement officer working narcotics and money laundering cases with the US Postal Inspection Service.
She joined the CIA as an Operations Officer and traveled and lived abroad “collecting intelligence, managing assets, and overseeing high-profile programs in service to the United States.” It’s been reported she worked in anti-terrorism.
In 2014, she left government service to begin a career in the private sector. Spanberger and her family moved back to Virginia and she worked for EAB – Royall & Company, where she “helped colleges and universities to create diverse student bodies, increase graduation rates, and break down financial barriers to higher education.”
She Said She Ran After Seeing ‘Partisan Politics Threatening the Country She Has Worked so Hard to Protect.’ Issues Included Health Care, Preventing Gun Violence, Immigration Reform, & Protecting Social Security & Medicare
Spanberger said she “took an oath to protect and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic. That oath didn’t come with an expiration date. When she saw partisan politics threatening the country she has worked so hard to protect, she knew it was her time to stand up for the people in the 7th District.”
She told Yahoo News that her campaign has been “talking about issues that are important to voters…”
“I am running the campaign that I would want to vote for. That is at the core of how I’ve made choices along the way — who I am as a voter, informed by my experience in the CIA and in public service. The way we make the best progress in a correctly functioning two-party system is when we have the push and pull of different ideas,” she was quoted as saying.
“People across our district have recognized that we can’t govern on autopilot, that our democracy is as strong as the compilation of citizens who participate. It’s important and necessary for people to get involved.”
Spanberger had said if elected she’d “work to ensure that every person has quality, affordable healthcare. No one should have to choose between putting food on the table and getting the care, medication, or life-saving treatments they need. No one should lose or be denied coverage because of a pre-existing condition, and no one fighting a serious illness should face the fear of lifetime coverage caps. We can improve our healthcare system, while lowering costs, ensuring greater coverage, and achieving better outcomes, but it will take tremendous political will and a commitment to creatively looking at the options.”
She has also taken on gun violence. She supports “reasonable gun ownership” as a former gun-carrying federal law enforcement officer and intelligence agent, but says “thousands of Americans die each year due to violence, suicide, or accidents involving firearms, and our lawmakers’ unwillingness to address this problem leaves our citizens and our children vulnerable.” She says the “ever-increasing number of Americans who die each day requires that we take action.”
Spanberger opposes “any attempts to privatize” Social Security or Medicare: “I will work to protect Social Security and Medicare so we can meet our obligations to seniors, now and into the future.”
Spanberger Was Endorsed by Prominent Democrats & Democratic & Progressive Groups & the Virginia Police Benevolent Association
Spanberger had the backing of Vice President Joe Biden, Senators Mark Warner and Tim Kaine and former senator John Warner. She also has the blessing of not unfamiliar progressive Democrats and groups and agencies like Emily’s List, Panned Parenthood, teachers; unions, labor, and women’s and civil rights groups. But she’s also secured an endorsement from a group that may often be found on the conservative category, the Virginia Police Benevolent Association.
In its letter, the VPBA, a chapter of the Southern States Police Benevolent Association, a non-profit member organization that provides legal, advocacy and other representation to more than 50,000 law enforcement officers at the local, state, and federal level, said the “law enforcement community throughout Virginia’s 7th Congressional District has no better friend and advocate than Abigail Spanberger.”
“The Virginia Police Benevolent Association is proud to put our support behind Abigail Spanberger and asks that the citizens of the 7th District do the same. A vote for Abigail Spanberger is a vote for the men and women of law enforcement and the citizens they serve.”