Rep. Abigail Spanberger, a prominent Virginia Democrat who managed to win several times in a conservative-leaning district, announced Monday that she would run for governor in 2024, leaving open a competitive seat that could be crucial to her party’s efforts to regain control of the House next year.
Ms. Spanberger, 44, is considered one of the strongest Democratic contenders to succeed Gov. Glenn Youngkin, a term-limited Republican. His decision not to seek re-election to Congress leaves House Democrats scrambling to fill a seat that is regularly in play for both parties.
“Virginia is where I grew up, where I am raising my own family, and where I intend to build a stronger future for the next generation of Virginians,” Ms. Spanberger said in a statement.
Ms. Spanberger is the first candidate to announce her candidacy for governor of Virginia. His early announcement is intended to allow his successor to build a campaign for the 2024 House race, which Democrats say would provide a more favorable electorate than a special election.
But House Republicans said their chances of winning the seat had improved significantly with Ms. Spanberger’s planned departure, pointing to him as the latest example of a Democrat in a competitive seat choosing to run for office. higher functions rather than remaining in the House.
Other examples include Reps. Elissa Slotkin of Michigan and Katie Porter of California, who are both running for Senate seats.
“Swing District House Democrats are scrambling to get out and creating @NRCC pickup opportunities from coast to coast,” Jack Pandol, spokesman for the National Republican Congressional Committee, written the, formerly known as Twitter. “We are in a prime position to win this seat.”
Ms. Spanberger, a former CIA officer, won election in 2018 as part of a wave of centrist women — many with national security experience — who said they were running to counter the president Donald J. Trump and whose victories propelled Democrats into the House. majority. She developed a reputation in Congress as a Democrat willing to stand up to her party, refusing to vote for Representative Nancy Pelosi of California for speaker and pushing to ban members of Congress from trading stocks.
Despite this, Ms. Spanberger was recently elected as a Democratic leadership member to represent the interests of members in battleground districts.
Ms. Spanberger currently holds the Central and Northern Virginia seat formerly held by Rep. Eric Cantor, a Republican and former House Majority Leader. It was defeated in a primary in 2014 by a Tea Party-aligned Republican, Dave Brat, who later lost to Ms. Spanberger in 2018.
She won two close re-election campaigns, although the seat was redrawn before the 2022 race, making it slightly more favorable to Democrats.
The new neighborhood boundaries and the results of last week’s state electionsDemocrats are optimistic they will hold the seat.
“Virginians have consistently made it clear – including last week – that they want leaders to focus on protecting basic rights and freedoms, growing the middle class, and delivering results for families who are working,” said Justin Chermol, a spokesman for the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee. “This is why the Seventh District will remain in Democratic hands in 2024.”