Rep. Abigail Spanberger's long-anticipated announcement that she will forgo reelection in 2024 to run for governor of Virginia in 2025 gives House Republicans their third promising opportunity in a seat left open by a Democrat running for statewide office. But Democrats still retain a slight edge in this Biden +7 seat, because higher turnout should aid their eventual nominee in the diverse outer Washington suburbs.
A former CIA officer and leading moderate in the Democratic Caucus, Spanberger won three straight tough races. In 2022, court-led redistricting dislodged her from her suburban Richmond base, forcing her to run in an outer Northern Virginia seat that was over three quarters new. But Spanberger raised and spent $9.2 million, allowing her to pulverize GOP nominee Yesli Vega on the airwaves and win 52%-48%.
Vega, a Freedom Caucus-endorsed former police officer who raised just $3.5 million, gave Spanberger priceless ad fodder when she was caught on tape at a campaign event expressing skepticism pregnancy was likely to arise from instances of rape.
Republican strategists are relieved not to be running against Spanberger's money machine
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