Abigail Spanberger wins reelection in bellwether Virginia 7th district, NBC News projects

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U.S. Rep. Abigail Spanberger (D-VA) during a press conference with Moore Hallmark, Vice President of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, and Brian Lam, a local business owner, outside of Collage Spa on November 3, 2022 in Fredericksburg, Virginia.

Samuel Corum | Getty Images

Democratic Rep. Abigail Spanberger has been reelected to the House in Virginia’s 7th District, defeating Republican Yesli Vega, NBC News projected.

The central Virginia district was widely considered a litmus test for how Democrats might fare in swing districts during an election cycle that historically favors Republicans. The GOP came into Election Day heavily favored to win House control, but Spanberger’s swing district was seen as a crucial one for Democrats to hold in order to curb their losses.

Spanberger, a former CIA agent, was first elected to Congress in 2018, winning a seat in a district that includes Richmond suburbs that are typically friendly to Democrats.

But redistricting in 2020 shifted Spanberger’s district north to the outer suburbs of Washington D.C., where the electorate is 20% Latino and voters are more socially conservative than in her current district.

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The new district also includes more of Prince William County, where Vega is a county supervisor and an auxiliary deputy in the county sheriff’s office. If she had been elected, Vega would also be the first Latina from Virginia in Congress.

Endorsed by former President Donald Trump, Vega is a relative political newcomer who defeated several better known Republicans to clinch the GOP nomination in June.

Spanberger ran a campaign appealing to moderate Republicans and independent voters, and distancing herself from the national Democratic Party and from President Joe Biden, whose nationwide approval ratings are in the low 40s.

Spanberger also made abortion rights a central part of her campaign, contrasting herself from Vega, who supported the Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe v. Wade.

The race was one of the nation’s most expensive House races, with more than $20 million pouring in from national party committees and outside PACs. Vega and Spanberger each faced approximately $7.5 million of negative ad spending funded by outside groups, according to the nonprofit Open Secrets, which tracks campaign spending.

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