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by Brandon Jarvis

In a fundraising email sent to his supporters Friday night, state Del. John McGuire (R-Goochland) stated publicly for the first time that he is running for Congress. He has already filed the paperwork to run in the seventh congressional district as he is hoping to earn the Republican nomination to run against Rep. Abigail Spanberger (D-Henrico).

“Friends,” the email from McGuire begins. “I am reaching out to my strongest supporters with this special announcement. After many prayers, and countless requests to run for Congress over the last year, I am jumping into the race to represent the people of Virginia’s 7th Congressional District. I need your help.”

McGuire is only one among a large field of Republicans looking to earn the nomination to face Spanberger next year. In addition to state Sen. Amanda Chase, who announced her candidacy earlier this week, Sen. Bryce Reeves, Tina Ramirez, and Taylor Keeney have also officially announced their candidacy.

In the email sent to his supporters Friday night, McGuire attacked Spanberger by blaming her for all of the hot-button issues in politics right now. “Under Democrat Abigail Spanberger our borders are open, the FBI is targeting parents for speaking up at school board meetings, we botched the withdrawal from Afghanistan, and gas prices are crippling working class families,” he said. 

Related: John McGuire faces criticism after he reveals that he attended the Jan 6. rally in D.C.

Spanberger is a two-term representative in the 435-member House of Representatives. After first defeating the Republican incumbent Dave Brat in 2018, she won reelection by a slightly wider margin in 2020. However, now she is facing national headwinds with a new Democratic president who is suffering from low approval ratings. Republicans also made gains in state-level races earlier this month by flipping seven seats in the House of Delegates winning three statewide races.

“Still, there’s a long time between now and next November,” said Richard Meagher, a political science professor at Randolph Macon College. “It’s possible for Biden‘s numbers to bounce back a little bit, especially after the recent deals in Congress.”

Additionally, analysis has shown that Republican Gov.-elect Glenn Youngkin won Spanberger’s district on Nov. 2 by a wide margin. Her district is a top target for national Republicans who are looking to take back the House during next year’s midterm elections. 

Meagher noted, however, that Youngkin will have to govern for the entire year leading up to the elections, making him a wildcard — voters could be motivated by his actions to continue voting for Republicans, or they could experience regret.  “If Virginians start feeling a little buyer’s remorse, that might help Democrats running for national office in the fall.”  

The national attention makes the nomination contest for Republicans in the seventh much more contentious — it is already proving to show it will be a nasty fight with candidates attacking each other over controversial legislation they voted for in the past. 

Additionally, the redistricting process has yet to be completed meaning the lines for the district could change drastically impacting the electorate who will participate in this race.

“With that process in the hands of the Virginia Supreme Court, anything could happen,” Meagher said.

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By vascope