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2020                   General Election

Almost a year ago, I wrote a note urging people to support Abigail Spanberger for election. A few months before the 2018 election. Democrats targeted a lot of seats. Could they take back the House?

Democrats flipped 40 Republican seats in 2018. They now control of the House of Representatives. There are seats to defend. Abigail Spanberger’s is one of them.       In 2018, her victory was among the narrowest, 12th narrowest. She won by 6,784 votes. This time I am writing sixteen months before the election. There are a lot of seats to defend in 2020.

Incumbency is no guarantee of victory in Virginia’s seventh. Not recently. For almost 50 years, Republicans represented the district. Eric Cantor was one of the Republican “Young Guns.” He represented the district from 2001 to 2014. He became the Republican Majority Leader 2011. In 2014, Cantor was ambushed. Defeated 55-45 in the Republican Primary by Dave Brat. He had become a member of the establishment of the Republican Party. The ambush was from his right.

Brat won again in 2016. His share of the vote declined. Just a bit. From 61% to 58%. He did better than Trump, though. Trump carried the district with 50% of the vote. The prosperous suburbs of Richmond, which made up the largest part of the district, was beginning to vote like suburbs around the country.

The 2017 election indicated what might be coming. The candidates for Lt. Governor and Attorney General carried Virginia’s Seventh with 53% of the vote. The candidate for Governor won 51% of the vote.   In 2018, Dave Brat dropped to 48% of the vote. Abigail Spanberger won with 50%.

Abigail Spanberger was a tough opponent for the Republicans.      Candidates who have defended the country have an advantage in Virginia. Abigail Spanberger had that advantage. She was ex CIA and, before that, a kind of cop. As a federal postal inspector she investigated money laundering.

There was a scandal in the 2018 campaign. The US Postal Service insists the records they released were a mistake.       The employee who released the records did not have proper training, but was never identified. The USPS got a public information records request about Abigail Spanberger and responded. In 21 days. Record speed of response? The Spanberger Campaign made the same request, doing the kind of self oppo research candidates do. The Democrats never received any information about her. And never received an explanation why.

The Postal Service provided Abigail Spanberger’s social security number, her medical history, her employment history, her security clearance information to America Rising, a Republican allied research group. They said they made the same mistake about three other people, The USPS would not say who the three other people were or whether they were candidates for public office.

America Rising gave the material to a Super PAC friendly with House Speaker Paul Ryan.   The Republicans found what they thought they were looking for.  Abigail Spanberger had taught, briefly, in the International Baccalaureate program at the Islamic Saudi Academy.

Funded by the Saudi Embassy, the school was replaced in 2016 by the King Abdullah Academy. The old school had been accused of promoting religious intolerance, an accusation that probably had merit.   The Republicans tied the religious intolerance to terrorism. Stretching further, having tied Abigail Spanberger to they school, they tried to tie her to terrorism.

The CIA did not see it. They hired Abigail Spanberger. She joined the CIA in 2006. She worked as an operations officer overseas.       She gathered information for the CIA on, among other things, terrorism. In 2014, she left the CIA to work for the Education Advisory Board — EAB.         For them, she helped universities increase diversity in their student body.

You never know what working for the CIA will prepare you to do. In Abigail Spanberger’s case, she was prepared to run for office.       Well prepared. She withstood the attacks based on her personal record. Turned the attacks around on Brat, making him seem sleazy. Part of the Blue Wave, she won a very close race.

Her run in 2020? What kind of Member of Congress has she been? A moderate. The Republicans would be hard pressed to claim Abigail Spanberger was an ally of Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.       Consider the Congressional struggle about providing resources to address the squalid conditions in immigration camps. Consider Abigail Spanberger and her allies.

Abigail Spanberger is a member of the Problem Solving Caucus. A bipartisan group. More than thirty Democrats. Fifteen Republicans. President Trump and the Republicans claimed the squalid camp conditions were caused by a lack of resources. They wanted an appropriation. So did Speaker Nancy Pelosi. She intended to avoid any claims that Democrats were obstructing an appropriation of those funds.

Progressive groups in the House of Representatives insisted on limitations.       Appropriated funds could not be redirected elsewhere by the President. The camps had to meet standards of care for children.       The House passed the appropriation with these and other limitations. The Senate returned its original bill without the safeguards passed by the House.

The Problem Solvers Caucus? They were with the Senate. Nancy Pelosi? She was not going to allow the House to be blamed for delaying an appropriation for those camps. The House acquiesced to the Senate and the President. Nancy Pelosi acquiesced to the Senate, the President, and the Problem Solvers Caucus. The funds were appropriated without the safeguards.       As the Senate wanted it.

Abigail Spanberger? Not only is part of the Problem Solvers Caucus, she was one of the new members of the House who declined to vote for Nancy Pelosi for Speaker.  In 2020, she will need every one of votes she won with and more.       Turnout will be bigger in the Presidential year. A lot of money will be spent to contest Virginia 07.

Abigail Spanberger?  She will probably vote for Nancy Pelosi as Speaker in 2020. Electing Nancy Pelosi as Speaker in 2020 will be non-controversial. Nancy Pelosi is who we need. So is Abigail Spanberger. Help Abigail Spanberger be part of victories in the House, Senate, and Presidency in 2020. We need them all.

New Members of the House elected in 2018 who need our support to stay there

1.    Ben McAdams UT 04                       Elected by 694 votes

2.    T. J. Cox CA 21                                  Elected by 862 votes

3.    Kendra Horn OK 05                         Elected by 3,338 votes

4.    Jaren Golden ME 02                        Elected by 3,509 votes

5.    Lucy McBath GA 06                          Elected by 3,634 votes

6.    Xochitil Torres Small NM 03          Elected by 3,722 votes

7.    Andy Kim NJ 03                                 Elected by 3,973 votes

8.    Joe Cunningham SC 01                    Elected by 4,082 votes

9.    Debbie Mucarsel-Powell FL 26      Elected by 4,119 votes

10. Anthony Brindisi NY 22                   Elected by 4,373 votes

11. Gil Cisneros CA 39                             Elected by 6,711 votes

12. Abigail Spanberger VA 07                Elected by 6,784 votes