by Adele Uphaus
MANAGING EDITOR AND CORRESPONDENT
Despite what Republicans say, Democrat Rep. Abigail Spanberger doesn’t believe that her decision not to run for reelection to Congress and instead run for Virginia Governor in 2025 means control of her 7th congressional district seat is likely to flip.
“I expect that someone will work really hard because ideally, they too will believe in the strength of what they can do on behalf of their constituents,” Spanberger told the Advance in an interview Tuesday afternoon. “When that happens, I expect that we’ll hold the seat. That’s not to say it will be easy, but there’s a lot of hard workers on this side of the aisle.”
Spanberger, a former CIA officer, announced her run for governor in a campaign video released Monday. Virginia’s constitution limits governors to one term, so she will not face GOP Gov. Glenn Youngkin.
She was first elected to Congress in 2018, unseating Tea Party-aligned incumbent Dave Brat, and was reelected in 2020 and 2022.
The seventh congressional district was redrawn last year to center more on Fredericksburg. It includes the city of Fredericksburg and all of the surrounding counties of Stafford, Spotsylvania, King George, Caroline, Culpeper and Orange.
The Virginia Public Access Project rates it as competitive. Spanberger won the district with 52.2% of the vote over Republican challenger Yesli Vega in 2022, but Youngkin won 52% of the district’s vote in the 2021 governor’s race.
Spanberger last year was rated one of the top five most bipartisan Members of Congress and the most bipartisan member of the Virginia delegation.
Following the announcement of her gubernatorial run, the National Republican Congressional Committee posted on X, formerly known as Twitter, that Republicans are “in a prime position to pick up” the 7th district seat.
Spanberger described these as “talking points” in an interview Tuesday.
“It’s a challenging seat,” she said. “I have worked unbelievably hard in all three of my elections to win and hold the seat. But I have demonstrated that it is possible and can be done and, I think you will see people making really thoughtful decisions about what they would bring to this race.”
Spanberger said the results of Tuesday’s election showed that Virginians “want elected officials who are working on the things that matter most to them on a day-to-day basis.
“They don’t want legislators who are … waging these culture wars,” she said.
In her video, she pledged to work to lower prescription drug prices, grow the middle class, support teachers and protect women’s reproductive rights.
Spanberger said her record in Congress is as someone who works to deliver bipartisan legislation that benefits Virginia, such as the 2021 infrastructure bill.
“I hope to bring knowledge of the good work we’ve done at the federal level to the governorship level,” she said. “I have accomplished some really wonderful things that am proud of. I look forward to … continuing to serve the people of the 7th and more broadly the people of Virginia.”