US House District 7 – VA 2020

US House District 7 – VA 2020

Top News

A week after making national headlines for passionately urging her Democratic colleagues not to use terms like “socialism” or “defund the police,” Virginia 7th District Rep. Abigail Spanberger spoke with ABC7 in a Zoom interview.

Spanberger, a moderate, has been declared the winner in her race against Republican Brad Freitas by the Associated Press. The latest vote count has her up by about 8,000 votes.

Congresswoman Abigail Spanberger narrowly won re-election in Virginia’s 7th Congressional District last week in a race closer than many predicted. That tight race, and lost races across the country, represent a larger issue affecting the Democratic Party as a whole, she says.

By the time the dust settled Thursday, November 5, Spanberger’s team was confident they had defeated State Delegate Nick Freitas. The Associated Press would officially call the race for her Sunday, November 8. Still, the delay due to mail-in ballots was harrowing.

“We knew it would take some time to get the final results,” Spanberger said. “Of course, in the moment when you’re waiting for it patience becomes quite a virtue.”

In 2018, Chrissy Houlahan (PA-06), Elaine Luria (VA-02), Mikie Sherrill (NJ-11), Elissa Slotkin (MI-08), and Abigail Spanberger (VA-07) flipped Republican-held districts running on their national security records and moderate bona fides. Now, all five of them have been reelected to Congress.

Luria, Slotkin, and Spanberger were in seats Cook Political Report rated as “toss-ups” two years ago, but this year their districts were uniformly rated “Lean Democratic.” In 2018, Houlahan and Sherrill were in seats rated Likely and Lean Democratic, respectively but this year didn’t face competitive challenges — Cook Political Report didn’t even include them in its list of competitive races.

But as returns came in, it became clear that district-level polls may not have accurately captured voter sentiment. As David Wasserman wrote last week: “The suburban anti-Trump revolt that took 2018 by storm didn’t extend to 2020. Most Republican incumbents in white-collar suburbs didn’t just survive, they thrived — running well ahead of President Trump down-ballot.”

Spanberger declares victory after pulling ahead of Freitas
Graham Moomaw November 4, 2020 (Short)
U.S. Rep. Abigail Spanberger, D-Henrico, greets voters at a polling place in Henrico County on Election Day. (Ned Oliver/Virginia Mercury)

Rep. Abigail Spanberger, D-Henrico, pulled ahead Wednesday afternoon in what had been a too-close-to-call congressional race against Del. Nick Freitas, R-Culpeper, after Spotsylvania County reported its absentee ballot numbers and Henrico County updated its absentee totals.

With the new numbers in in, Spanberger was leading Freitas by more than 5,100 votes, according to unofficial results on the state elections website. The results had shown Spanberger trailing Freitas since polls closed Tuesday.

Officials seemed to still be sorting out an issue with Henrico County’s absentee numbers, but it wasn’t clear a change there would hurt Spanberger’s lead.

Spanberger declared victory early Wednesday evening shortly after the new counts came in.

“Tonight, the Seventh District affirmed its commitment to leadership in Congress that puts Central Virginia first, works for everyone, and focuses on expanding opportunity for the next generation of Virginians,” Spanberger said in a news release.

Freitas said he would wait for canvassing to take place before making a statement about the outcome.

If the result holds, none of Virginia’s congressional districts will have changed hands in 2021, with Democrats defending the three seats they flipped two years ago but failing to pick up another they were targeting.

Later Wednesday night, Spanberger said it had been the “honor of my life” to represent the district, congratulating Freitas on a hard-fought campaign.

“As we celebrate tonight I know there are many who cast a different vote,” she said. “I hope over time I will earn your trust as a representative even as we disagree.”

Rep. Elaine Luria, D-Norfolk, defeated Congressman Scott Taylor in the competitive, Virginia Beach-anchored 2nd District, and Rep. Jennifer Wexton, D-Loudoun, defeated Republican challenger Aliscia Andrews in Northern Virginia’s 10th District.

Republican Bob Good defeated Democrat Cameron Webb in central Virginia’s 5th District, ending Democrats’ hopes they could add to their 2018 gains.

Spanberger’s apparent win was a bright spot for Democrats, who had a lackluster showing nationwide, failing to capture Senate and House seats that were up for grabs and losing several they were trying to hold.

The Associated Press on Sunday projected that U.S. Rep. Abigail Spanberger will be reelected to her seat in Virginia’s 7th District after a dayslong count of votes that was prolonged by mail-in votes in the midst of the pandemic.

Spanberger, a Democrat, is nearly 8,000 votes ahead of Republican Del. Nick Freitas in the strip-shaped district in central Virginia that includes Culpeper, Chesterfield, Henrico and Nottoway counties and skirts to the west of Richmond.

It was Spanberger’s first reelection challenge. Freitas led for much of Tuesday night, but Spanberger closed the margin steadily through Wednesday and took the lead late Wednesday afternoon, by about 5,000 votes — 227,540 (50.49%) to 222,406 (49.35%).

Abigail Spanberger Victory Speech
YoutubeNovember 5, 2020 (05:31)

Democratic incumbent Abigail Spanberger has declared victory over Republican challenger Nick Freitas in Virginia’s 7th Congressional District race.

As of 10:16 p.m. Wednesday, numbers stand with Spanberger at 227,538 and Freitas at 222,406 with 100 percent of precincts reporting.

“Tonight, the Seventh District affirmed its commitment to leadership in Congress that puts Central Virginia first, works for everyone, and focuses on expanding opportunity for the next generation of Virginians. Serving the Seventh District in Congress has been my honor, and I look forward to continuing our work to strengthen and protect our communities,” Spanberger said in a statement.

Virginia Decides: 7th Congressional District Forum
YouTube , VPMOctober 20, 2020
7th District race nears record donations in a state congressional race
NBC 12, CJ Paschall November 4, 2020 (Short)

A big congressional race is bringing in even bigger dollars in Virginia’s 7th District.

The race between Democratic incumbent Rep. Abigail Spanberger and Republican challenger Del. Nick Freitas has raised nearly $11 million as of the last filing deadline on October 15, according to campaign finance watchdog OpenSecrets.

The bulk of that has been brought in by Spanberger: her campaign reported $7.8 million in donations brought in. Freitas has raised more than $3.1 million

Crucial suburban voters weigh in on Congressional 7th District race
WTVR Richmond, VA, WTVR Richmond, VAOctober 20, 2020 (02:45)

Summary

Abigail Spanberger took an oath to protect and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic…When she saw partisan politics threatening the country she has worked so hard to protect, she knew it was her time to stand up for the people in the 7th District.

At the in-person convention in Caroline County on July 18, Nick Freitas, Delegate from Culpeper,
received 56% of the vote on the third ballot, outlasting five challengers in his bid to secure the GOP nomination in the one-time Republican stronghold that turned blue in 2018.

In the final round of balloting, Freitas topped Del. John McGuire, R-Goochland, who received 44% of the vote. The win for Freitas, who sought the GOP U.S. Senate nomination in 2018, sets up what is likely to be a closely watched contest with Spanberger in a swing district that includes eight rural counties and large swaths of suburban Chesterfield and Henrico.

Abigail Spanberger

Current Position: US Representative since 2019
Affiliation: Democrat
Candidate: 2020 US Senator

Abigail Spanberger began her career of public service as a federal law enforcement officer working narcotics and money laundering cases with the US Postal Inspection Service. Following her love of country, public service, and languages, Abigail joined the CIA as an Operations Officer.

For more information, go to Abigail Spanberger’s post.

Nick Freitas

Current Position: State Delegate since 2016
Affiliation: Republican
Candidate: 2020 US Representative for US House District 7

“I am first and foremost a Christian. My dedication to the belief that we all have inherent value and are entitled to liberty and equality before the law is rooted in this worldview. Principles of individual liberty, personal responsibility, respect for God and limited, constitutional government are not merely convenient political concepts, but essentials which are fundamental to our liberty, prosperity and security.”

For more information, see this Nick Freitas post.

Issues

Governance

Abigail Spanberger 

The United States of America was founded on the principle that our government is of and for the people. We each have the right to engage in the political process, express our opinions and concerns, and vote for the representatives we want to be our voice in Washington. However, across the campaign trail, I have been struck by how often people share the view that Congress is not working for them. People feel that their opinion doesn’t matter, that their needs do not matter, and that ultimately their vote doesn’t matter.

If we are to live up to our principle of being a government of and for the people, we must ensure that voters have faith, not just in those whom they send to Washington, but also in our election process and in our Congress.

To do that, we need greater transparency and accountability in Congress. Voters must know that their elected representatives are focused on serving them, not special interests, not themselves, not anyone, but the voters. I believe that it is the responsibility of candidates and Members of Congress to hold themselves to the highest standards of ethical behavior and accountability, and commit to strengthening our system with reforms that will restore trust, and give voters a stronger voice.

  • Hold regular town halls
  • Release a public schedule
  • Support No Budget, No Pay Act
  • Stop the abuse of taxpayer-funded mail
  • Forgo corporate PAC money
  • Require transparency on social media ads
  • Strengthen disclosure of outside political spending
  • Support a Constitutional amendment to overturn Citizens United
  • End gerrymandering
  • Enact automatic voter registration at age 18

Nick Freitas 

Limited, Constitutional Government

The Virginia and US Constitutions are not a list of suggestions, but a contract between the people and their government. Representatives must actively demonstrate their support for these documents by using originalism to faithfully interpret its text. The Constitution is the law which governs government and those representatives who refuse to understand this important limitation on their power are failing in their most sacred duty to the Constitution, their constituents and all of the men and women who have fought to preserve it.

Fiscal Responsibility

Government must always remember that it is spending the hard earned money of the people it is supposed to serve. TransparencyFrugalityand Constitutionality must be the hallmarks of government budgeting and fiscal management. Taxes should be collected fairly and equitably and should only be expended on LEGITIMATE functions of government. When the government experiences a shortfall, their first instinct should be to cut spending on non essential services, NOT to raise taxes. The government must always operate based on a balanced budget.

 

Civil Rights

Abigail Spanberger 

I believe every person should be treated with dignity and have equal rights under the law. No person in a free and fair society should make less money, be denied government services, pay more for healthcare, lose a job or housing opportunities, or face discrimination in the community or workplace because of their gender, race, creed, national origin, disability, whom they love, or anything else that defines them.

I support protecting women’s access to reproductive healthcare and federal funding to Planned Parenthood and other providers that ensure essential healthcare to women and men. I will work to protect marriage equality and LGBTQ rights.

I also support the passage of the Equal Rights Amendment. I support the rights of individuals with disabilities and will work to preserve the protections afforded under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).

We must pursue criminal justice reform. We are five percent of the world’s population, but have 25 percent of the world’s prisoners. We need criminal justice reform to ensure that our justice system is fairly sentencing offenders regardless of race or economic status, and that we’re addressing issues related to addiction in our jails and prisons. I also support bolstering reentry efforts, which reduce recidivism and ensure that those who have paid their debt to society have the knowledge and resources necessary to become employed and engaged community members.

Nick Freitas 

Economic Liberty & Private Property

Genuine freedom is more than simply voting. In fact, without economic freedom, elections are little more than a chance for the people to select those who will be taking their property. People should be free to make important economic decisions for themselves free from intrusive and over bearing government. This means supporting low taxesopposing onerous regulations, protecting private property rights and at all times fighting cronyism, which seeks to make business beholden to politicians and bureaucrats rather than their customers.

Virginia Families

The individual and families are the building block of society, not government. The best way that state government can support Virginia families is by providing a safe and secure environment for parents to raise and educate their children. This includes fighting back against federal encroachment and defending life. A government which does not respect the sanctity of human life, is not a government which can be depended upon to protect your rights and property. That is why I am adamantly pro life and will not only fight legislation to reduce restrictions on unsafe abortion clinics, but will actively encourage, advance and patron legislation which recognizes governments legitimate interest in advancing the ethic that All Lives really do Matter!

Second Amendment Rights

Defending our Constitutional right to keep and bear arms is essential. The second amendment is not about hunting or target shooting. It was borne out of our Founders understanding that inherent to individual liberty is the right to protect ones person and property. Restrictions on our right to keep and bear arms is a direct violation of both the letter and the spirit of the law and must be opposed. While I share the concerns expressed by some about firearms falling into the wrong hands, it cannot be overstated that restricting the ability of law abiding people to protect themselves and their families because of the criminal actions of some, is not only inappropriate but completely counter productive to a free and safe society. I will be a staunch advocate of our Second Amendment rights. 

Democracy

Abigail Spanberger 

Campaign Finance Reform & Gerrymandering

The Citizens United ruling is one of the most destructive decisions ever handed down by the U.S. Supreme Court. It ushered in an era of unchecked and unaccounted for political spending, and our nation has paid a dear price for it. I support campaign finance reform and efforts to reduce the influence of money in politics. I support efforts to bring greater transparency to campaign finance, overturn Citizens United, and block illegal foreign funds from influencing our elections.As we’ve increasingly dealt with the effects of special interests in campaign finance, it’s important that all elected officials take a stand against letting a small group of funders influence our elections.

And because my commitment to campaign finance reform starts now, with my campaign, I will not accept any corporate PAC donations. I am proud that our campaign has earned the support of End Citizens United, a national organization committed to fighting for campaign finance reform.As a Virginian, I’ve seen the negative effects of gerrymandering. We need fairly-drawn, non-partisan districts to ensure the health of our representative democracy.

Nick Freitas

N/A

 

 

Economy

Abigail Spanberger 

Advancements in technology have radically restructured the global economy. While these changes bring many benefits, they have also altered the employment landscape for many Americans. We must take steps to acknowledge and understand how this impacts individuals, salaries, and the economic growth across our country, so that we can plan accordingly and ensure that our workforce training meets the needs of the changing economy.

Our strength as a nation comes from the idea that anyone with a good idea can make it happen — the recent craft brewing renaissance we’ve experienced throughout central Virginia is just one example. This is why I support policies that empower small businesses (the backbone of our economy) to innovate and pursue bold entrepreneurial ventures.I also recognize that, despite living in an era of historic corporate profitability, people are working harder and harder, but their incomes are not keeping up with their expenses. Congress has had more than enough time to reinforce the middle class by prioritizing the people and small businesses that keep our economy strong; I will make them a priority.

I also support organized labor, as unions have historically been a driver of economic stability within America’s middle class. This has been true for my own family, as my grandfather, a member of the International Union of Painters and Allied Trades, was able to raise his four children as a young widower because of the stability his union employment provided. As we see a changing landscape of employment opportunities, union apprenticeship programs remain an invaluable asset as they train the next generation of skilled workers

Nick Freitas 

N/A

 

 

Education

Abigail Spanberger 

As a proud graduate of Henrico County Public Schools and as a mother of children who attend public schools, I believe deeply in the value of public education. I will advocate for and work to strengthen our public education system. I support building more skills/career training and apprenticeship programs for Americans whose path to employment does not include a four-year degree. For those who attend two and four-year colleges, we should ensure that they are not saddled with debt when they graduate and enter the workforce. I will be a tireless advocate for our nation’s students from the day they enter school to the day they graduate.

Nick Freitas 

Educational Freedom

A quality and relevant education is essential to our Commonwealths security and prosperity. Unfortunately many young people are denied a quality education due to the monopolistic practices of the government. Parents need greater freedom in determining their children’s educational needs. Teachers need more time and flexibility to educate rather than trying to constantly prepare children for their next standardized test, and we must keep Common Core OUT of Virginia education.

Environment

Abigail Spanberger 

As a kid, I cherished the time I spent outdoors, trekking through the woods or picnicking in parks with my family. As an adult, I know how lucky we are to have Virginia’s mountains, rivers, and beaches. It is our responsibility to protect these resources for our children and generations to come by investing in alternative and renewable energy sources and decreasing air and water pollution. Energy independence is good for the environment and good for the economy — solar energy job growth climbed 65% from 2015-16 in Virginia, making the Commonwealth one of the fastest growing solar job markets in the nation.We must do everything we can to seize this opportunity.

Climate change is real, and we’re already seeing the effects right here in Virginia with rising sea levels, higher average temperatures, and stronger hurricanes. An investment in clean, renewable energy is an investment in our ecosystem, our health, and our economy. These efforts require significant coordination, as well as a shared baseline of facts, and I will stand up to attacks against science

Nick Freitas 

N/A

 

Health Care

Abigail Spanberger 

I will work to ensure that every person has quality, affordable healthcare. No one should have to choose between putting food on the table and getting the care, medication, or life-saving treatments they need. No one should lose or be denied coverage because of a pre-existing condition, and no one fighting a serious illness should face the fear of lifetime coverage caps. We can improve our healthcare system, while lowering costs, ensuring greater coverage, and achieving better outcomes, but it will take tremendous political will and a commitment to creatively looking at the options.

Assaults against the ACA, such as the removal of the individual mandate, are causing rising premiums and losses of coverage across our district and country. I support measures that would strengthen the framework of the ACA such as reinstating the individual mandate, which mitigates risk, and moving the enrollment deadline to align with tax day. To increase coverage nationwide, I support pursuing universal coverage through a public option, specifically the proposed Medicare-X Choice Act currently before the U.S. Senate.I support Medicare, Medicaid, and CHIP and the vital resources they provide to our seniors and most vulnerable citizens and children.

I also support protecting women’s access to reproductive healthcare, including federal funding to Planned Parenthood and other providers that ensure essential healthcare to women and men.

Nick Freitas 

N/A

Immigration

Abigail Spanberger 

The United States was founded as a nation of immigrants, but our current immigration system is broken. Too many politicians use immigration as a political talking point instead of actually trying to solve the problems.

I am committed to finding real, bipartisan solutions to fix our immigration system, and I will work with anyone to create a proposal for immigration reform that ensures border security, takes into account the needs of our workforce, respects our values and history, gives certainty to DACA recipients, and creates an earned pathway to legal status for undocumented immigrants currently living here as long as they abide by the law, work hard, and pay taxes.

As a CIA officer, I worked counter-terrorism and international drug trafficking cases. I understand the security threats we face, and I know we can secure our borders and points of entry without breaking from American values or tearing families apart. I will advocate for border security policies that use cutting edge technology, together with trained officers and physical infrastructure to ensure our nation’s security at our borders and points of entry.As a former federal agent, I oppose any efforts to create safe havens for violent criminals. Our immigration system is broken, and both parties continue to play politics instead of working together to fix the problem

Nick Freitas 

N/A

Infrastructure

Abigail Spanberger 

Technology and the Internet

Access to broadband internet provides economic and educational opportunities, and I support efforts to bring broadband access to everyone here in the 7th and in underserved communities across the country.

I also support net neutrality. Legislation protecting net neutrality is vital to ensuring that the internet remains a conduit for free speech and a free market, and that it’s available to those who rely on the internet to create opportunities or grow their business, whether they’re working from home in Louisa or managing a farm in Culpeper. It is an essential service to small businesses, educators, and everyday citizens alike, and it must become and remain equally accessible to all users.

Nick Freitas 

N/A

Safety

Abigail Spanberger 

Gun Violence Protection

Thousands of Americans die each year due to violence, suicide, or accidents involving firearms, and our lawmakers’ unwillingness to address this problem leaves our citizens and our children vulnerable. I am a former federal law enforcement officer, I used to carry a gun every day, and I support responsible gun ownership, but the ever-increasing number of Americans who die each day requires that we take action.

Addressing gun violence and protecting lives should not be a political issue; it is a public safety issue. I support background checks for all firearm purchases, regardless of where or from whom the purchases are made. States that require background checks for all purchases have fewer suicides by gun, fewer law enforcement officers shot and killed, and fewer women killed by an intimate partner. Ninety four percent of Americans support background checks for all firearms purchases, as well as the Law Enforcement Partnership to Prevent Gun Violence and the Virginia Association of Chiefs of Police.I support common sense gun policy, such as HR 2598, the Gun Violence Restraining Order Act of 2017.

The implementation of Gun Violence Restraining Orders allow family, friends, and law enforcement to help people facing crisis who, with a firearm in their possession, might be a risk to themselves or others. I support ensuring that states have the ability to provide current information to the NICs database to ensure informed background checks, and I support funding the research of gun violence. I also support the proposed HR 5087, the Assault Weapons Ban of 2018.Thoughts and prayers are not enough. Members of Congress must have the courage to address this problem and implement policies that will help keep our children and communities safe.

Nick Freitas 

N/A

 

Issues

Social Security

Abigail Spanberger 

Protecting Social Security and Medicare

For decades, working families have paid into the Social Security and Medicare programs with the understanding that they were paying for retirement security later in life. I oppose any attempts to privatize these systems or to cut benefits. I am committed to ensuring their viability, and I will work to protect Social Security and Medicare so we can meet our obligations to seniors, now and into the future.

Nick Freitas 

N/A

Veterans

Abigail Spanberger 

Unemployment, homelessness, and suicide rates among our nation’s veterans are unacceptably high, and I will work to ensure that we, as a country, make the process of transitioning from active duty to civilian life a positive one for our veterans. I will work to ensure veterans’ continued access to quality healthcare through our VA system, and I will work to strengthen existing efforts to improve our veterans’ transitions to the civilian workforce through credentialing, education, and job training programs.

Nick Freitas 

N/A

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