RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — With Election Day looming, the potential shift of power in the House has put the national focus on the midterm’s competitive races.
The results for one local election, the battle for Virginia’s 7th Congressional seat, will be followed by voters in the district and many across the country.
Voters in Virginia’s 7th Congressional District will decide between Rep. Dave Brat, the incumbent, Democratic candidate Abigail Spanberger and Joe Walton, the Libertarian Party’s nominee.
So far, polls have shown a tight race between Rep. Brat and Spanberger.
Christopher Newport University’s Wason Center for Public Policy released a poll on Oct. 29 showing Brat and Spanberger in a statistical tie. FiveThirtyEight’s election forecast for the district shows the race as a toss-up.
Click here to watch Rep. Brat and Spanberger debate the issues.
Polls open at 6 a.m. on Nov. 6.
Rep. Dave Brat (R)
In June of 2014, Dave Brat, an economics professor at Randolph-Macon College in Ashland, Virginia, pulled off a major upset over former House Majority Leader Eric Cantor. Brat took out Cantor, who was seen as a potential House speaker, with 55.5 percent of the vote.
“This is the happiest moment, obviously, of my life,” Brat said after winning the Republican primary against Rep. Cantor
After his stunning victory, Rep. Brat, a member of the conservative House Freedom Caucus, won re-election in 2016 with 57.5 percent of the vote against Democratic challenger Eileen Bedell.
Rep. Brat called the vote a “historic accomplishment for Republicans” and that House Republicans showed the country, “that our priority is the American worker.”
Abigail Spanberger (D)
Abigail Spanberger, the Democratic nominee for the district, claims the current state of politics motivated her to run.
“When she saw partisan politics threatening the country she has worked so hard to protect, she knew it was her time to stand up for the people in the 7th District,” Spanberger’s campaign website states.
Spanberger was born in New Jersey but grew up in Virginia, attending J.R. Tucker High School in Henrico and then graduating from the University of Virginia.
Spanberger, known by many voters as a former CIA operations officer and federal agent, won the Democratic primary in June with 72.7 percent of the vote. On her website for Congress, Spanberger lists health care as one of her major concerns:
I will work to ensure that every person has quality, affordable healthcare. No one should have to choose between putting food on the table and getting the care, medication, or life-saving treatments they need.”
Joe B. Walton (L)
The chances for Joe B. Walton, the Libertarian candidate on the ticket, of winning Virginia’s 7th Congressional seat are slim. Walton can, however, make an impact on the race as polls show 4 percent of voters favor the Libertarian.
Walton tweeted about the results of the poll on Oct. 29:
Walton served on the County of Powhatan Board of Supervisors from 2007 until 2011. Walton has called for implementing limitations on government and “maximizing personal freedoms.”
Walton further explains his political philosophy on his campaign’s website:
I believe in limited government and personal freedom in the tradition and practice of Thomas Jefferson – socially inclusive, fiscally responsible.”
-Joe B. Walton
Learn more about Walton and his views on his campaign website.
READING BEFORE ELECTION DAY