Trump’s endorsement of Vega marked his first overt foray into competitive Virginia congressional races this year, coming in a district where he lost to President Biden by six points. In his statement on Truth Social, Trump called on Virginians to support Vega, a former police officer whom he described as “a WARRIOR for America first” and a “strong Republican voice against violent crime and all other things that are destroying our nation”. .”
Vega did not immediately respond to Trump’s endorsement, but in a statement sent to The Washington Post via text Friday afternoon, his campaign put the president’s support on par with district voters.
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“President Trump joins the thousands of Virginians who have supported our campaign here in the 7th District as they are disheartened by the leadership failure they see from Joe Biden and Abigail Spanberger,” the statement read.
Vega had joined Virginia Gov. Glenn Youngkin (R) at a rally in Stafford, Va. on Friday, where reporters also asked Vega about Trump’s endorsement. She said she just learned of the approval before the rally, AP reported.
“I received a lot of recommendations. I obtained the most important supports for me, that is to say the voters of the 7th district. So I’m really excited,” she said, according to AP.
Republicans in Virginia’s most competitive districts have steadfastly avoided discussing Trump or even naming him, pulling a page from Youngkin’s playbook. That’s largely due to the former president’s apparent unpopularity in the state, which has benefited several Democrats in close races in the past two elections, including Spanberger. Trump lost Virginia by 10 percentage points in the 2020 election – which Vega said she believed was ‘interfered’, avoiding saying it was ‘robbed’, as Trump keeps repeating to wrong. Vega previously told the Post that “the American people elected [Biden]but wouldn’t say what she believed about Trump’s false claims of voter fraud, noting that she didn’t know what was going on in his head.
Vega was appointed by Trump to his Hispanic Prosperity Advisory Commission about a month before she left (which she mentioned in her Twitter bio at some point through August.)
Spanberger, for her part, spoke out against Trump’s endorsement Thursday night: “Tonight my opponent was endorsed by former President Trump. Virginians are exhausted by his division, his lies and his hyper-partisanship,” she wrote on Twitter. Trump said Spanberger, who led legislation to increase police funding, would “defund our great police” and “destroy our Second Amendment.”
The race between Spanberger and Vega remains highly competitive, with Cook’s nonpartisan political report returning him to ‘pitch’ status only this week. After the redistricting, the 7th District is now entrenched in eastern Prince William County, stretching south along the I-95 corridor – much of which is new territory for Spanberger.