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Virginia’s 7th Congressional District Race is Packed and Expensive

Whether the seat remains Democrat or switches to Republican may depend on Presidential rather than local politics.

Control of the US House of Representatives rests on elections in the small number of swing districts – those reasonably winnable by either a Republican or a Democrat. Those races are always the most competitive and expensive. When one of those races is for an open seat, the competition – and the money – grow exponentially.


That’s the situation this year in Virginia’s 7th Congressional District. Stretching from Northern Virginia just south of the Washington DC “Beltway” through Fredericksburg and nearly reaching both Charlottesville and Richmond, the region has been largely Democrat by a slim margin, but was carried by Glenn Youngkin in 2021. Currently represented by Democrat Abigail Spanberger, the District had been held by Republicans from 1968 until her election in 2018.


When Spanberger announced plans to step down from Congress to challenge Governor Glenn Youngkin, Republicans saw a potential pickup in a swing district and both candidates and money started flowing in.


“You’re looking at very expensive contests, in part because Republicans can win this district, or Democrats can win this district,” said Stephen Farnsworth, professor of political science at the University of Mary Washington. “You know open seats don’t come along very often, and so when they do there tends to be a lot of interest.”


Seven Democrats and six Republicans are currently vying for the seat with another two who have either dropped out or withdrawn. According to federal filings Democrats have raised well over $6 million, however a full $5 million of that has gone to Eugene Vindman, an Army Veteran and Ukrainian immigrant. Vindman’s family gained a national profile when his brother Alexander Vindman testified to Congress regarding President Trump’s conversations with Ukrainian President Zelenskyy.


Republican standouts appear to be lawyer and Army veteran Derrick Anderson and Navy veteran Cameron Hamilton.

Vindman has been endorsed by the Washington Post while Anderson has racked up endorsements from prominent local officials and Hamilton prominent national officials. 


Both party primaries will happen for June 18.


Political Trackers The Cook Report and Larry J. Sabato’s Crystal Ball both classify the race as Lean Democratic while Inside Elections with Nathan L. Gonzales classifies it as “Tilt Democratic.” Out of over 450,000 votes cast in the 2020 election, Democrats only won the seat by fewer than 8,500 votes. Presidential preferences and campaign strategy will likely play major roles in whether this swing district remains Democrat or shifts to Republican control.


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