Abigail Spanberger will be the Democrat to face Dave Brat in November

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Written by Brandon Jarvis and Hunter Moyler

In an exciting night for the Democrats, they were tasked to choose between two candidates that have good odds to beat the incumbent Dave Brat in November.

In the typically-reliably Republican district that has seen a shift to the left in the time since Donald Trump’s election, momentum is moving left.

Abigail launched her campaign in the summer of 2017. She has stated that she decided she wanted to run for Congress when the House voted to repeal the Affordable Care Act. Tonight, she can officially call herself the Democratic nominee for the 2018 VA-07 district House of Representatives election.

Dan Ward and Spanberger faced off in a well-fought Primary by both sides. They both focused on policy and bringing change to Washington.

Ward did take a more direct approach to opposing Trump, especially in the final days of the election. However, Spanberger’s focus on policy more than resistance to Trump proved effective in attracting the number of votes needed to win.

Abigail’s election night party had a positive vibe from before the start at 7 p.m.  However, the vibe in the dining hall where the core of the guests were located went from positive to electric only 15 minutes after the polls closed. That is when a tweet from Dave Wasserman went up on the big screen projecting a Spanberger victory.

Dan Ward’s campaign manager Spencer White spoke with Richmond 2Day shortly after 7:30 p.m. “At this moment, I think we’ve realized that it’s going to go to Spanberger, and now it’s a question of us as a campaign figuring out what the process is going to be.” “It’s been a good campaigning experience. What’s really important now is that we all come together as Democrats. Dan Ward has full confidence that Abigail Spanberger will make a great congressperson, that she is capable of beating Dave Brat, and that we’re gonna have a Democratic candidate.”

With over 72% of the vote, Spanberger received 33,198 votes to Ward’s 12,495 votes.

Abigail walked on stage to deafening roars in front of her family with at least 200 supporters in the crowd to watch her victory speech. She struck a tone of thankfulness to her team and volunteers mixed with determination to unseat the Incumbent, Republican Dave Brat.

“With your help, we will flip the 7th district.” said Abigail to another burst of deafening applause.

Over at Dan Ward’s campaign headquarters, his supporters were surrounded around an iPad watching Abigail victory speech.

Dan’s campaign manager spoke again with Richmond 2Day: “Tonight, we’re all disappointed by the results, but are also excited to come together tomorrow to do what we have to do to flip the 7th District and elect Abigail Spanberger, who’s a great Democratic candidate.”

Back at the Spanberger party, her supporters were fired up, and excited to take on Dave Brat.

“Where’s the ATM I am going to buy you a f**king beer.” – one Spanberger supporter said to another in the hotel hallway.

Dana Bye, Abigail’s campaign manager, spoke with Richmond 2Day while celebrating the win. “I am in awe of the operation and campaign that we have built here in the 7th.” She continued: “At the end of the day I think we’ve got an incredibly strong candidate who is able to bridge divides and bring together our shared values.”

Mayor Stoney also made an appearance at the event, while speaking with Landon Shroder outside of the event, the Mayor said that Abigail will be a “formidable opponent for Dave Brat in November.”

Background on Spanberger:

Spanberger has previously served the public as an operations officer at the C.I.A. traveling the world, collecting intelligence, and managing assets. Before that she was a federal law enforcement officer working narcotics and money laundering cases with the US Postal Inspection Service. She left her public service career in 2014 and moved back home to Glen Allen with her family.

We met her for the first time back in August. One of the topics that we discussed is her availability to her constituents if she were to be elected.

“If elected my priority would be to make sure that I am listening to people across this district. This is a very mixed district as far as Democrats, Republicans, or Independents. I personally feel that elected officials have a responsibility to answer to all of his or her constituents to make sure it is known why they vote the way they do. I would want to hold more frequent town halls, I would begin holding town halls before even being sworn in to make sure that when I head to congress it would be with the knowledge of the things that are important to my constituents.” – Abigail Spanberger

Spanberger’s campaign began back in July, they came out of the gate strong with big fundraising numbers. The following is a press release from early October –  “Abigail Spanberger, a former CIA operations officer and current Democratic candidate in Virginia’s 7th Congressional District, announced today that she has raised more than $243,000 from mostly Virginians in her first quarter challenging Rep. Dave Brat. This initial, early support demonstrates the incredible momentum of her campaign and highlights her strong ties to the community. Spanberger collected more than 900 individual contributions, and more than 70% of Spanberger’s donors are Virginians, with the greatest concentration in Central Virginia.”

50% the people who have donated to her campaign live within the 7th District, 75% of donations come from people that live in Virginia, and 66% of donations have been $100 or less.

Spanberger was on MSNBC in October to discuss Health care and her experience with the C.I.A.

“Abigail spoke about the lingering effect on the divide between people that are civilians and ones that are service members. “So much rhetoric is coming out of Washington and it truly is divisive.” She continues to address the politicization of problems that should not be partisan issues, “Issues are becoming political issues that really shouldn’t be.”

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