UPDATE: After publication, the Vega campaign provided a statement attributed to the Republican congressional candidate. The campaign still has not posted any announcement of Trump’s endorsement on its website or social media. You can read Vega’s full statement below.
RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — Former President Donald Trump endorsed Republican Yesli Vega Thursday, a move that led to a quick response from Rep. Abigail Spanberger (D-Va.) but nothing yet from the GOP candidate.
Unlike previous endorsements, including ones from Gov. Glenn Youngkin and Virginia “Ginni” Thomas, the wife of Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas, Vega’s campaign has not yet announced or publicly embraced Trump’s endorsement.
“Virginia, Vote for Yesli Vega for Congress,” Trump wrote on Truth Social, a social media platform backed by the former president, on Thursday. “A strong Republican Voice against Violent Crime and all other of the things that are destroying our Nation, Yesli will make you proud. Common Sense Policies is what we want, and NOW!”
Vega, a Prince William County supervisor, has campaigned with Republican U.S. Sen Ted Cruz of Texas and touted other endorsements from Lt. Gov. Winsome Earle-Sears and Attorney General Jason Miyares.
Trump, who lost Virginia twice and by 10% against Joe Biden in 2020, has backed candidates across the country but stayed out of Virginia’s 7th Congressional District race before endorsing Vega.
Democrats have questioned Vega’s ties to Trump, including a move after her primary win that’s been seen as an effort to distance herself from him.
Vega, appointed by Trump in 2020 to be on his Advisory Commission on Hispanic Prosperity, had “Pres. Trump appointee” on her Twitter bio up until July. But the mention of Trump was removed by the next month, the Washington Post reported.
The former president attacked Rep. Spanberger, a two-term congresswoman and former CIA officer, calling her a “radical” and claiming she’s “a disaster on crime” that “will Defund our great Police, and destroy our Second Amendment.”
Spanberger, who has championed boosting law enforcement pay, didn’t waste much time pointing out Trump’s endorsement of Vega by posting an image of his message on Twitter.
“Tonight, my opponent was endorsed by former President Trump. Virginians are exhausted by his division, lies, and hyper-partisanship,” Spanberger wrote on Twitter.
Virginia’s 7th Congressional District race is one of the most closely watched and competitive races in the commonwealth, with national implications on U.S. House control. The Cook Political Report, a nonpartisan newsletter that analyzes elections, moved the race from “lean Democrat” to a “toss-up” two weeks before Election Day.
Spanberger’s re-election bid comes in a new 7th Congressional District that no longer includes the Richmond suburbs.
Prince William County has the largest share of voters in the district, followed by Stafford and Spotsylvania counties, according to the nonpartisan Virginia Public Access Project (VPAP). In 2020, Trump lost Prince William County by more than 61,000 votes.
Vega, an auxiliary deputy in the Prince William County Sheriff’s Office, defeated more established Republicans, including a state senator, to win the Republican nomination in June.
“Yesli Vega is a WARRIOR for America First,” Trump wrote in his message, “and has my Complete and Total Endorsement!!”
Early voting in Virginia started in September and runs until Nov. 5. Election Day is Nov. 8.
UPDATE: After publication (5:32 p.m. on Oct. 29) the Vega campaign provided a statement attributed to the Republican congressional candidate:
“President Trump joins the thousands of Virginians who have been supporting our campaign here in the 7th District, because they are discouraged with the failure of leadership they see from Joe Biden and Abigail Spanberger.
“Virginians are demanding lower cost of living, better schools, and safer streets. We started a movement last year here in Virginia and I am so excited to take this movement to Washington and deliver on those demands.”