Virginia’s 7th Congressional District, currently represented by first-term Democrat Rep. Abigail Spanberger, was a longtime Republican stronghold until it went Democratic in 2018. The GOP aims to take it back in November.
The suburban Richmond district is located in the center of the commonwealth and includes municipalities like Culpeper, Orange, Goochland, Nottoway, Amelia, and Powhatan counties, as well as regions of Chesterfield and Henrico counties.
In 2016, voters in the district preferred President Trump, 50% to 44%, over Hillary Clinton. But the region has been trending more Democratic in the last few years. Former House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, a Republican, previously represented the district. Yet in 2014, Cantor was defeated in an upset by college professor Dave Brat in the GOP primary.
Brat, a tea party activist and later a House Freedom Caucus member, lasted only two terms in Congress, as Spanberger, a former CIA officer, in 2018, defeated him 50% to 48%.
Spanberger currently serves on the House Committee on Agriculture and the House Committee on Foreign Affairs, where she is the chairwoman of the Conservation & Forestry Subcommittee and a member of the Commodity Exchanges, Energy, & Credit Subcommittee.
The Virginia Democrat is also on the House Foreign Affairs Committee, where she serves as vice chairwoman of the Europe, Eurasia, Energy, & the Environment Subcommittee and is a member of the Asia, the Pacific, & Nonproliferation Subcommittee.
Her background as an intelligence officer has made her a sought-out cable news guest, and in the early months of her first term, she could be found on many interview shows.
She now faces Republican Nick Freitas, a two-tour Army veteran and member of the Green Berets who currently represents the 30th District in Virginia’s House of Delegates.
Following high school, Freitas joined the Army and served with the 82nd Airborne Division and 25th Light Infantry Division as an Infantryman. After the Sept. 11, 2001, terror attacks, the Virginia Republican volunteered for U.S. Army Special Forces (Green Berets) and eventually served two tours in Iraq as a Special Forces Weapons SGT and Special Forces Intelligence SGT.
Following his honorable discharge in 2009, Freitas involved himself in leading local Republican campaigns in the commonwealth for several years thereafter, including the campaign of a successful GOP state Senate candidate who beat a 28-year Democratic incumbent in Culpeper.
Spanberger started the race with a 12-1 cash-on-hand advantage over Freitas, as well as an endorsement from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. Freitas, though, touted the endorsement from the National Federation of Independent Business and is among a group of candidates receiving money from the House Republicans’ campaign arm as a member of their Young Guns program.