“The greatest honor of my life has been representing Virginians in the United States House of Representatives. Today, I am proud to announce that I will work hard to earn the support and trust of all Virginians to continue this service as Virginia’s next governor,” Spanberger said in a written statement released as part of his campaign. “Virginia is where I grew up, where I raise my own family, and where I intend to build a stronger future for the next generation of Virginians.”
Spanberger’s early entry — nearly two years before Election Day 2025 — gives Democrats more time to recruit candidates to run in the 7th District, a competitive territory that stretches from the county’s Washington suburbs from Prince William almost to Ashland in the confines of the Great. Richmond. Youngkin, by comparison, entered the 2021 race in January of that year and Democrat Terry McAuliffe, a former governor seeking a comeback, did so in December 2020.
Spanberger’s announcement is expected to prompt candidates in both parties to accelerate their own registrations and start chasing money for a contest that last cost Youngkin and McAuliffe a combined $137 million, a record amount for Virginia.
Richmond Mayor Levar Stoney, a Democrat, has been saying for months that he is considering running for his party’s nomination. Politico reported last week that Stoney had assembled a team and planned to announce it before the end of the year. On the Republican side, Lt. Gov. Winsome Earle-Sears and Attorney General Jason S. Miyares are widely expected to seek the Republican Party’s nod.
Re-elected to a third term last year, Spanberger gained national attention in 2018, when she unseated Republican and Tea Party favorite Dave Brat in the 7th District, then a longtime GOP stronghold in a suburban area -rural central Virginia. She has navigated challenges over the next two cycles, including last year after redistricting moved the district north to the Richmond suburbs where she lives.
Born in New Jersey to a nurse and a police officer, Spanberger moved to suburban Richmond after her father moved from police to federal law enforcement for the United States Postal Inspection Service , where Spanberger herself later worked.
Interested in foreign languages since growing up with an Ecuadorian babysitter, Spanberger was fluent enough in French, Spanish, German, and Italian to recruit spies overseas for the CIA, which she served from 2006 to 2014. mom in the ranks of CIA agents, which, according to her, worked to her advantage.
“I would say the pregnant woman waddling through foreign cities is easily overlooked,” she told the Washington Post in an interview during her 2018 run.
She and her husband have three school-age daughters.
Spanberger used her past work in federal law enforcement and the CIA to attract independents and moderate Republicans to her swing district, while energizing the Democratic base with her experience as an organizer with the group. gun control Moms Demand Action.
In the House, she sought to strike a similar balance, aligning with the Liberals on abortion for example, while sometimes opposing the left wing of the party. She was a vocal review of the “defund the police” rhetoric that some Democrats expressed during the 2020 cycle.
Spanberger has never supported Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) for Speaker of the House and went further last year by reprimanding Pelosi’s manipulation of legislation that would ban members of Congress from trading stocks, accusing him of proposing legislation “designed to fail.”
Spanberger has criticized his party’s messaging and negotiating tactics related to President Biden’s initial Build Back Better agenda, telling the New York Times in November 2021 that “no one elected FDR; they elected him to be normal and end the chaos.
This earned her ridicule from Biden, who called without notice, greeting the congresswoman with: “Hello Abigail, this is President Roosevelt. »
In an announcement video titled “What Matters Most,” Spanberger presents herself as a public servant who gets things done even in a highly polarized Washington.
“I am committed to serving our country and the people of Virginia,” she said, “first in law enforcement, then in the CIA, working to keep our country safe, and today in Congress, where, despite dangerous polarization, I found ways to bring people together and focus on what really matters.
She presents herself in the video as attentive to kitchen table issues — supporting veterans and small businesses, fighting addiction — while presenting herself as a bulwark against conservative culture wars, including banning books and abortion.
“When we overcome chaos and division, we can focus on what matters most to Virginians: lowering prescription drug prices, growing the middle class, lowering costs and easing inflation,” she says . “It’s no longer necessary to use teachers and our children as political pawns: it’s about focusing on teacher recruitment and retention, so that all our children can succeed. And stop extremists from destroying women’s reproductive rights. Even in this time of deep division, we can seize this opportunity.