RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — Primary voters in Virginia’s 7th Congressional District picked Yesli Vega to be the Republican nominee to face Rep. Abigail Spanberger (D-Va.) in the midterms, according to projections from the Associated Press.

Vega, a former Manassas Park police officer and former Prince William sheriff’s deputy, sits on the Prince William County Board of Supervisors and is an auxiliary deputy in the county’s sheriff’s office.

Preliminary results from the Virginia Department of Elections shows Vega with a strong lead over the other five candidates in the primary.

A daughter of Salvadoran immigrants, Vega led Gov. Youngkin’s “Latinos for Youngkin campaign” and received endorsements from Rep. Bob Good (R-Va.) and U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas. Sen. Cruz campaigned with Vega in the 7th District on Monday.

“There’s no Democrat discount at the gas pump or grocery store and everyone is a victim of lawlessness,” Vega said in a statement. “Tonight we celebrate, tomorrow we set our sights on taking back the 7th and winning in November!”

Vega will challenge Rep. Spanberger, who has held the 7th Congressional District seat since 2019 after narrowly defeating incumbent Rep. Dave Brat (R) in 2018 and state Del. Nick Freitas (R-Culpeper) in 2020.

Before Spanberger’s two wins, the 7th District hadn’t been held by a Democrat since the late 1960s, records from the state’s Department of Elections show. But the state’s redistricting led to a new 7th District that moved north and no longer includes the Richmond suburbs that helped Spanberger to victory.

The nonpartisan Cook Political Report has rated the new district as a Democratic toss-up and a VPAP analysis of statewide elections found it has trended blue but favored Gov. Glenn Youngkin in 2021.  

On her campaign website, Vega says giving people more health care options will help drive down costs and calls for eliminating IRS penalties and to make health savings accounts tax-free.

Vega backs requiring all voters to show photo ID at the polls and says she will be a “fierce advocate for parental rights” in regards to schools.