April 17, 2024

RICHMOND, Va. (AP) — Derrick Anderson, a U.S. Army combat veteran and attorney, announced plans Monday to again seek the Republican nomination for a Virginia congressional seat that could be a key to determining party control of the U.S. House.

The former Green Beret pledged in a statement to run a “tireless, heartfelt, and genuine” campaign to represent the 7th District in the Fredericksburg area, where he grew up.

“As your voice in Washington, I’ll stand up to the big spenders in both parties, get inflation under control and fight for a balanced budget,” Anderson said in a video announcement, casting himself as an outsider with a “fighting spirit.”

Anderson previously sought his party’s nomination in the 2022 primary, finishing about 5 percentage points behind the winner, Yesli Vega. Vega went on to lose to Democratic U.S. Rep. Abigail Spanberger, who has represented the 7th District since 2018.

Speculation has swirled for months that Spanberger, seen by Democrats as a rising star and by Republicans as a formidable opponent, will run for Virginia governor in 2025.

If she opts not to seek reelection, it would leave open two of Virginia’s most competitive House seats, now both represented by Democrats. U.S. Rep. Jennifer Wexton on Monday announced she would not run again in northern Virginia’s 10th District, saying she learned she has a more severe form of Parkinson’s disease than initially thought.

Connor Joseph, a spokesperson for Spanberger, declined to comment Monday on Anderson’s candidacy or Spanberger’s plans. Spanberger has previously declined to comment to news outlets, saying she’s focused on this fall’s legislative elections in Virginia.

The 7th District was overhauled during the redistricting process that ended in late 2021. While it used to be centered in central Virginia, including the Richmond suburbs, it’s now anchored around the Interstate 95 corridor in exurban Washington and includes rural communities to the east and west.

Anderson’s campaign said in a statement that he is a Spotsylvania County native who attended Virginia Tech and graduated from Georgetown Law. He served six tours of duty overseas, including in Afghanistan and Iraq.

Several other Republicans have filed paperwork candidacy-related paperwork and announced campaigns: Bill Moher, Cameron Hamilton, Jon Myers and Shaliek Tarpley.

Also in the race is Craig Ennis, who is running as an independent.

If Spanberger does not seek reelection, political observers expect a crowded Democratic primary as well.

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