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Virginia congressional races already heating up

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(The Center Square) — Just one week after Virginia’s fierce General Assembly election, 2024 is already shaping to be another dramatic election year for the commonwealth, regardless of being a presidential election year.

Incumbent Democratic Reps. Abigail Spanberger and Jennifer Wexton have announced they will not be seeking reelection, while a slew of congressional hopefuls are now circling their seats.

The nonprofit Virginia Public Access Project has already labeled the 7th (Spanberger’s) and 10th (Wexton’s) districts as the two competitive Virginia House of Representatives races for next fall. All others lean toward or firmly belong to one of the two parties. Spanberger and Wexton are in their third terms as representatives, but Republicans preceded them. The state was redistricted in 2021, however, which affected the makeup of their districts.

Wexton is not running for reelection due to a serious health condition she at first believed to be Parkinson’s but later learned it was a more aggressive disease – progressive supranuclear palsy or ‘Parkinson’s on steroids,’ her doctors called it, according to Wexton. She announced that with the expiration of her current term in office, she’d be retiring from her position as 10th-district representative. The district is comprised of Loudoun County and other neighboring localities.

There were rumblings surrounding a host of names in Virginia politics who might launch bids for Wexton’s seat, and most of them – at least on the Democratic side – now have.

Del. Suhas Subramanyam, D-Loudoun, on Thursday, became the latest of his party to toss his hat in the ring. A former advisor to former president Barack Obama, Subramanyam won election to Virginia’s House of Delegates District 87 in 2019. In January, he’ll finish his term as a delegate and transition to the state Senate after winning District 32 last week.

Del. Dan Helmer, D-Fairfax, announced Wednesday that he’s entering the race in addition to Dels. David Reid, D-Loudoun, and Eileen Filler-Corn, D-Fairfax. State Sen. Jennifer Boysko, D-Fairfax, said she will run for the district.

“Last week, we flipped the Virginia Legislature blue,” Hemler wrote on X, “And today, I am proud to announce that I will be running for Congress to keep Virginia’s 10th Congressional District blue.”

Though so far there are more Democratic candidates, it was a Republican who officially kicked off the race. Mike Clancy, a lawyer and senior executive, announced in October that he would be running for Wexton’s seat, just a couple weeks after she announced she would not. Rumors have swirled about other Republicans, but none have come to fruition.

The 7th district’s Spanberger announced three days ago that she is running for governor in 2025 after serving the remainder of her term, putting her seat up for grabs in the 2024 election.

So far, three people have officially declared they’re entering the race for the 7th district: Republican Derrick Anderson, Independent Craig Ennis and Democrat Eugene Vindman.

Ennis, who has run for multiple offices but has yet to be successful, was the first to announce, followed by Anderson nearly one month before Spanberger officially declared her candidacy for governor (though there was already speculation that Spanberger would make a gubernatorial bid).

Anderson is a U.S. Army veteran and a lawyer. He also ran in 2022 for Spanberger’s seat but did not win his party’s nomination.

Vindman announced his entry on Wednesday. He is known, along with his brother, for blowing the whistle in 2020 on former president Donald Trump for a phone call asking Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky to investigate President Joe Biden.

Vindman is from Ukraine but is a U.S. citizen who has lived most of his life in the U.S. He served in the military for 25 years, working his way up to an Army Colonel and later worked for the National Security Council.

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