Home Uncategorized Republicans race to face Abigail Spanberger in Virginia’s 7th District

Republicans race to face Abigail Spanberger in Virginia’s 7th District

Republicans race to face Abigail Spanberger in Virginia's 7th District

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Determining who the Republican front-runner may be in Virginia’s crowded 7th Congressional District primarily largely depends on how one wants to define “front-runner.”

If it comes down to money, Stafford County Board Chair Crystal Vanuch is declaring herself a front-runner in the competitive six-way race. She noted in a message to supporters this month that she had raised nearly half a million dollars in just 45 days — a huge sum in a short period that led one GOP campaign strategist in the 7th District to tell The Washington Post that if that was the case, everyone else should just quit now.

But there’s a catch. According to her campaign finance report released Friday, the vast majority of the $483,000 Vanuch raised comes from one person: herself.

Vanuch, the CEO of her own public affairs firm, raised $83,000 from donors while lending her campaign $400,000. In a crowded race where candidates with similar platforms are vying to reach as many voters as possible, that large infusion of personal cash could certainly make a difference in getting her message out, said Zack Roday, a Virginia-based Republican campaign consultant.

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“The main point is resources — how they come matters, but at the end of the day, a resource advantage is still a resource advantage,” Roday said. “Every campaign looks to get every advantage they can, however they can, and in [Vanuch’s] case, the ability to do that creates more uncertainty in the field. If someone can do $400,000, what else can they do? That adds a level of uncertainty to the race that other campaigns have to take into consideration now.”

Still, Roday said he doesn’t think “anybody is the front-runner” in the primary. Of the top Republican contenders to challenge Rep. Abigail Spanberger (D), no one candidate is clearly running away with the grass-roots fundraising lead.

Prince William Board of County Supervisors member Yesli Vega (R), a sheriff’s deputy who led Gov. Glenn Youngkin’s (R) Latinos for Youngkin campaign, raised more than $350,000 this quarter and has nearly $294,000 on hand. Derrick Anderson, a lawyer and former Green Beret, is neck-and-neck with state Sen. Bryce Reeves (R-Spotsylvania). Anderson raised $231,000 this period, with $371,000 on hand, and Reeves — a veteran, former narcotics officer and an insurance salesman — hauled in $268,000, with nearly $390,000 on hand.

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Infusing campaigns with large personal loans is not uncommon for candidates with resources, including Youngkin, a former private-equity executive, as Vanuch’s campaign noted in a statement to The Post. He poured $20 million of his own fortune into his campaign for governor last year — a race that smashed fundraising records — and, in messages to supporters, heralded his fundraising edge just as Vanuch did this month.

Vanuch’s campaign said in the statement that entering in February, much later than the other candidates, left her with only 45 days to ramp up her campaign as she focused on traveling the district and building grass-roots support.

“As a small business woman, Crystal understands that significant personal investment – ​​both time and money – is required to be successful in a campaign, and as evidenced by our Q1 fundraising report, she is fully committed to winning this seat,” the statement said , noting that she now has $450,000 — “significantly more than any of her opponents” — on hand heading into the final two months of the campaign.

Whoever wins the 7th District Republican primary June 21 will find a formidable opponent in Spanberger, the two-term Democrat and former CIA officer. Spanberger, who has a nearly $4 million war chest, flipped the district blue in 2018.

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While Republican candidates both have similar resources and similar policy platforms — “parental rights” in education, election integrity, the Second Amendment and national defense, among other things — Roday said the primary race will come down to the strongest grass-roots game.

“Who’s able to create separation?” he said. “This fundraising report shows they’re all going to have the resources to stay about even on where they spend, so who’s going to have the grass-roots campaign and win over, room by room by room, the people who are listened to in their community or sphere of influence?”

National Republicans are targeting all three of the seats Democrats flipped in 2018, including Rep. Elaine Luria, in the Virginia Beach-anchored 2nd District, and Rep. Jennifer Wexton, in the Loudoun-anchored 10th. In a midterm election expected to be a referendum on President Biden and the economy, Republicans are most hopeful in the 2nd and 7th districts, where Biden won in 2020 but Youngkin won in 2021.

In the 2nd District race, state Sen. Jen A. Kiggans (R-Virginia Beach) is widely considered the leading contender to face Luria. Kiggans, a geriatric nurse practitioner and former Navy helicopter pilot, ramped up her fundraising, pulling in more than $400,000 this past quarter and surpassing $1 million in total. She has $592,000 on hand — but must contend with Luria’s $3.1 million war chest.

Eleven contenders, meanwhile, are seeking the GOP nomination in Virginia’s 10th District, the bluest of the three Republicans are hoping to flip.

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Jeanine Lawson (R), a Prince William supervisor, raised just over $308,000 in the last quarter and has $545,000 on hand, more than double that of her nearest competitors. But Hung Cao, a retired Navy captain who came to the United States after his family escaped Vietnam before the fall of Saigon, edged out Lawson with $314,000 this quarter, with $223,000 on hand. That fundraising performance, Roday said, could allow the lesser-known Cao to gain some momentum.

Brandon Michon, a Loudoun County parent whose heated address to the school board last about school closures led to appearances on Fox News, raised about $235,000 this quarter and has $205,000 on hand.

Another 10th District candidate, Mike Clancy, has $286,000 on hand. Nearly $100,000, though, was from a personal loan.

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