PRINCE WILLIAM COUNTY, Va. (DC News Now) — Virginia Democrats are celebrating after winning two competitive U.S. House races in Northern Virginia and keeping all four seats in the region.
Political analysts, candidates, and voters contribute the victories in the area to a number of factors — from the issues of abortion and preserving democracy, which might have been understated in the days leading up to the election, to a possible impact from former President Donald Trump.
As 7th District Democrat Rep. Abigail Spanberger clinched a third term in Congress, she credited her voting record.
“Starting with listening, starting with engaging on the issues, and really making clear the work that I’ve done,” she told DC News Now on Election Night.
It seems her message resonated with voters, as did her attack ads said Dr. Stephen Farnsworth, a professor of political science at the University of Mary Washington.
“The campaign ads in this district, over and over again, Spanberger just pummeled Vega on this comment about abortion, and that really resonated in suburban Northern Virginia,” Farnsworth said.
DC News Now heard that from voters in Dumfries on Tuesday.
“The rape issue about the pregnancy,” said Christopher Berry, who voted for Spanberger. “[I] disagree with that. It made me come out [to vote].”
Vega conceded on Wednesday morning, saying she looks forward to working with Spanberger in the future.
Meanwhile, 10th District incumbent, Democrat Rep. Jennifer Wexton, earned her re-election bid on the strength of a 15-point advantage in Loudoun County. Farnsworth believes Republican challenger Hung Cao ran a strong race, but topping an incumbent is tough.
“They have greater name recognition, they have a greater ability to raise money, and they have experience,” Farnsworth said.
UVA Center for Politics Director Larry Sabato said, “It was a Republican tide, but the tide turned out not to be very strong either.”
A Republican tide did help Virginia Republicans flip one seat in the Virginia Beach area, as Democrat Elaine Luria lost to State Sen. Jen Kiggans.
Farnsworth said Kiggans was helped by a redrawn district and by how she presented herself.
“Having someone who is Trump adjacent, I think in Virginia works a little bit better than somebody who is all in with the former president,” he said.
On Wednesday, Republican State Del. Tim Anderson said the party needs to move away from Trump, saying Spanberger and Wexton won because “voters would rather the country be on fire than vote for Trump’s party.”