According to NBC News, Democratic Rep. Abigail Spanberger defeated Republican Yesli Vega to win reelection to the House in Virginia’s 7th District.
The central Virginia district was generally seen as a yardstick for how Democrats may perform in swing areas during a presidential election campaign that typically favoured Republicans. Spanberger’s swing seat was seen as a vital one for Democrats to keep in order to contain their losses even though the GOP entered Election Day well favoured to win control of the House.
The former CIA operative Spanberger was first elected to Congress in 2018, securing a seat in a district that includes Democratic-leaning suburbs of Richmond.
However, due to redistricting in 2020, Spanberger’s district was moved north to the outer suburbs of Washington, D.C., where constituents are more socially conservative and comprise 20% of the electorate.
More of Prince William County, where Vega serves as a county supervisor and an auxiliary deputy in the county sheriff’s office, is also included in the new district. Vega would have been the first Latina from Virginia to serve in Congress if she had won the election.
Vega, a relative newbie to politics and a supporter of former president Donald Trump, upset five more well-known Republicans to win the GOP nomination in June.
Spanberger ran a campaign that focused on winning over moderate Republicans and independents while separating herself from the Democratic Party at large and from President Joe Biden, whose approval numbers are in the low 40s across the board.
In contrast to Vega, who backed the Supreme Court’s decision to reverse Roe v. Wade, Spanberger made abortion rights a key component of her campaign.
With contributions from outside PACs and national party groups totaling more than $20 million, the contest was one of the most costly House contests in the country. According to the non-profit organisation Open Secrets, which keeps track of campaign spending, Vega and Spanberger each had to deal with negative advertising expenditures of almost $7.5 million.