Abigail Spanberger wrested control of the 7th Congressional district seat from Dave Brat on Tuesday, helping Democrats take the House of Representatives for the first time since 2010.
She is also the first woman elected to serve the district and the first Democrat in 47 years—since John O. Marsh Jr. served from 1963 to 1971.
Though Brat won 58 percent of the vote in Louisa County and a similar tally in other rural areas, Spanberger bested him by a similar margin in suburban Henrico and Chesterfield counties. The count came down to a few precincts in Chesterfield, which were still being counted when Spanberger declared victory just after 11 p.m.
Brat did not concede defeat and had given no public comments as of Wednesday morning. A spokesman said the Congressman would wait for local electoral boards to announce the official results.
Brat had held the 7th district seat since he shocked former House Majority Leader Eric Cantor in the Republican primary in 2014.
Tim Kaine easily won election to his second term as Virginia’s junior senator, defeating Corey Stewart statewide, 57 to 41 percent. In Louisa, Stewart led by the same amount.
In her victory speech at the Westin Richmond in Henrico, Spanberger promised to work with members of both parties, acknowledging the deep divisions in society that have made it difficult for legislators to get much done.
“We’ve been trying to do that along the campaign trail … I’ve met with Republican committee members just to say, ‘Even if you don’t vote for me, I still want to know what’s important to you, because I intend to represent you,’” she said on Nov. 1 at a luncheon organized by the Louisa Democratic Committee at Louisa Arts Center.
Kaine, who also attended the Louisa event, said some cooperation between the parties has continued behind the scenes, even as the president and Senate and House leaders appear to take a hard partisan line.
“We do more in Congress than you think,” he said. “The week of the Bret Kavanaugh vote [for the U.S. Supreme Court], we also passed a big addiction treatment bill. I wrote pieces of it, Democrats and Republicans had parts of it, but in terms of what the media covered that week, it was all Kavanaugh … the burden is on us to show we’re putting bills on the president’s desk.”
Liberals and independent voters energized by their dislike of President Donald Trump and conservatives angry at Democrats’ treatment of Kavanaugh turned out at the polls in numbers much higher than normally seen during midterm elections.
In Louisa County, 15,521 people, or 64 percent of registered voters, cast ballots on Tuesday. The number was dramatically different from the 46 percent of registered voters who participated in the last midterm ballot in 2014, when there was a close contest between Sen. Mark Warner and challenger Ed Gillespie.
This is a partial article. Read the full story in The Central Virginian’s Nov. 8, 2018 edition
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