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Trump verdict could loom over Virginia congressional race

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(The Center Square) — With Virginia’s primaries only two weeks away, Donald Trump’s verdict could serve as an added boost to 7th-District Democratic favorite Eugene Vindman.

Vindman and his brother worked for the National Security Council and blew the whistle on Trump for his phone call asking Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskky to investigate President Joe Biden and his son, Hunter. Trump later fired the Vindman brothers after their report led to his first impeachment.

The retired Army Colonel has raised nearly $3.8 million for his congressional campaign – while most of his competitors have brought in closer to $200,000 – and recently snagged the endorsement of The Washington Post.

Vindman’s role in Trump’s impeachment is a prominent part of his campaign. It’s included in his X bio – “Fmr Colonel fired by Trump for doing my job” – and in the post pinned to the top of his profile: “I’m Eugene Vindman. I reported Donald Trump’s corruption, and it cost me my military career.” After challenging Trump, Vindman has now set his sights on deterring Trump supporters, whom he perceives as a threat to American democracy.

“Eugene is ready to stand up to attacks from MAGA Republicans on our most fundamental rights – from a woman’s right to access abortion care, a student’s right to learn in a safe, high quality public school, a worker’s ability to enter the middle class, or a voter’s right to make their voice heard,” his campaign website reads.

With Trump’s conviction, Vindman responded like many in his party, calling on the former president to abandon his pursuit of a second term.

“This is not about politics. This is about the fundamental respect for the law. It is time for Donald Trump to drop out of the race for President,” Vindman wrote on X Thursday.

Virginia’s 7th district is one of the two whose incumbents aren’t running for reelection this year. It encompasses Fredericksburg and parts of 10 other counties, including Prince William and Stafford. The nonprofit Virginia Public Access Project has marked the district as the most competitive of the commonwealth’s 11 House of Representatives seats up for grabs in November.

The district is currently represented by Democratic Rep. Abigail Spanberger, who has been reelected twice and announced in the fall that she would be running for governor in 2025. However, while Spanberger won the district by more than 4.5% in 2022, Republican Gov. Glenn Youngkin won there in 2021 by a similar margin. Prior to Spanberger, Republican David Brat had occupied the office since 2014.

One of Vindman’s Republican opponents, Navy SEAL and former division director for Homeland Security Cameron Hamilton, thinks Vindman might prevail in the primary but doesn’t think the win will translate in November. Hamilton called him a “celebrity candidate” with “no concrete positions, except that he hates Trump.”

As a fellow military man, Hamilton also disagreed with Vindman’s outing of Trump in 2019.

“You should serve the country first and serve the interests of the American president,” Hamilton told The Center Square. “I thought it reeked of corruption. I thought it reeked of a clear bias of politics into the military circle and into our intelligence agencies.”

Vindman’s campaign did not respond in time for publication to questions asking whether the verdict could impact his campaign.

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