“It is my profound honor to be standing here tonight and I am committed to bringing you the kind of responsive and accountable leadership you deserve.” – Abigail Spanberger.
Donald Trump won the election two years ago. That election set off a whirlwind of cries, cheers, and organizing. Fast forward two years and Abigail Spanberger, is the new Congresswoman for the 7th district of Virginia. Spanberger said she decided to run the day that Congress voted to repeal the Affordable Care Act.
The Spanberger party was busy long before they opened the door at The Westin in Henrico. The lobby of the hotel and the bar were full of people excited to enter the ballroom and celebrate their candidate.
Spanberger served in the C.I.A. before returning to Henrico where she grew up. She made note of this at a rally with Senator Tim Kaine (D) the night before Election Day, stating that the rally at JR Tucker High School was actually where she attended high school.
She has garnered national attention in the race, which was amplified after an opposition PAC ran an ad against her accusing her of teaching at “Terror High”. Spanberger taught at a Saudi Arabian school as a substitute while she was waiting for her security clearance from the C.I.A. The information about Spanberger’s job history was released when the U.S. Postal Service mistakenly released Spanberger’s un-redacted security form.
The USPS apologized for the mistake. However the group they received them still sent the un-redacted information to the press. Many of Spanberger’s supporters were outraged at the low blow against Spanberger. The C.I.A. hired Spanberger after she was taught as a substitute teacher.
The money poured into the Spanberger campaign following the “Terror High” report, helping her raise $3.6 million in one quarter.
The numbers started coming in shortly after 7 p.m. showing different of no more than 1000 votes with each update. According to VPAP, Spanberger held a 500 vote lead at 7:30 p.m. At 7:40 when the board at the front of the party updated to show a nearly 2000 vote lead for Spanberger.
At 9:15 p.m., the crowd was anxiously waiting on Chesterfield County to finish reporting, with Spanberger showing a lead of close to 500 votes. The swing in emotions continued for the next two hours.
Around 10:30 p.m., Brat’s campaign manager said that Brat would not be speaking to the crowd tonight.
Spanberger took the stage at 11:10, with tears in her eyes, mouthing “we did it”.
“We won an unwinnable district by doing exactly what every campaign should do. We focused on the needs of the voters” said Spanberger to the crowd. “This is what can happen when everyday citizens realize heir collective strength in a democracy.”
In a press conference after her speech, Spanberger said the energy in her room while waiting for results was actually very calm. She said they did everything they set out to do with this campaign, and that she felt great coming into this week.
Abigail Spanberger and her campaign manager Dana Bye ran a historic campaign that unseated an incumbent in a district that hasn’t had a Democrat represent them since 1968.
Stay here for update from throughout the night.