Spanberger beats Brat in Va.’s 7th District

WASHINGTON — Democrat Abigail Spanberger, a former CIA officer, has unseated U.S. Rep. David Brat in Virginia’s 7th Congressional District, The Associated Press projected Tuesday night.

With 99 percent of the precincts reporting, Spanberger has a lead of almost 4,900 votes over Brat. Brat’s campaign has said their candidate will not speak Tuesday night.

Spanberger will be the first Democrat to represent the district since 1971.

In a statement on Facebook, Spanberger said in part, “This is what happens when people, not politics, are the focus; when candidates who wish to serve their communities step forward and build races on meaningful dialogue about the issues impacting people’s lives.”

The Associated Press also projected that the 2018 election will break the record for the number of women in the U.S. House.

Spanberger is a former CIA officer who also worked for the U.S. Postal Inspection Service. In an interview with WTOP last month, she said, “My background is one of service; my background is one focused on solving problems and ensuring that the U.S. government’s making well-informed decisions, and I hope to bring that skill set to Washington to serve central Virginia and this country.” She added that Brat “hasn’t done a lot for our district” in his time in Congress.

Brat rode Tea Party support four years ago to an upset victory over Eric Cantor, who was the House majority leader at the time. He’s a former economics professor at Randolph-Macon and a member of the conservative House Freedom Caucus. In a debate in Culpeper last month, he said, “I’ve ran on the principles that made this country great” and cited the tax cuts supported by President Donald Trump. “The tax cuts passed, and this economy is just booming,” Brat said.

The district covers areas from Culpeper County in the north through Spotsylvania, Orange and Louisa through Richmond’s western suburbs down to Nottoway County.

WTOP’s Max Smith contributed to this report.

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