After a three month delay, Republicans in Virginia’s 7th congressional district have chosen Nick Freitas to be their nominee to run against one-term incumbent Abigail Spanberger this November.
The six candidates that came into today vying for the nomination include state Delegates Nick Freitas and John McGuire, former congressional foreign policy advisor Tina Ramirez, a former member of the Trump administration Andrew Knaggs, former veteran and lawyer Jason Roberge, and Chesterfield teacher Peter Greenwald.
The convention took place at Meadow Event Park in Doswell, Virginia – a location that is not actually located in the 7th congressional district.
Thousands of people showed up to cast their ballot for the in-person convention. It took three separate votes for Freitas to receive the majority and win.
The structure of the vote consisted of a first-ballot with all six candidates. When none of those candidates received a 50% plus 1-vote majority, the two bottom candidates, Roberge and Greenwald, were removed from the ballot for the second vote. The same process then took place after the second vote when none of the candidates received a majority of the votes. The two bottom candidates of the second vote, Ramirez and Knaggs, were then removed from the ballot for the third and final vote between Freitas and McGuire.
In a speech around noon before the first vote was finalized, Freitas spoke about running against Spanberger and working with President Trump. “We are going to get the president a Congress that can work with his agenda,” said Freitas.
As the crowd waited in the heat for results of the first vote to be announced more than two hours passed by as the committee worked through procedural issues.
The first vote ended at 11 a.m, with a potential second ballot vote happening at 12:30 p.m. However, votes from the first ballot were still being counted at 2 p.m.
After the first round, Freitas received 43% of the vote, with McGuire receiving 25%, Ramirez receiving 23%, and Knaggs came in fourth place with 7%.
The crowd then shuffled through the convention center once again to cast their vote for one of the four candidates left on the ballot.
After two hours of voting, the second ballot results were not much different than the first. Freitas received 46.7%, John McGuire received 25.1%, Ramirez received 24.5%, and Knaggs received 3.7%.
Knaggs endorses Freitas after the second ballot, while Ramirez endorsed McGuire in an “anyone but Freitas” type of move.
For the third vote, only Nick Freitas and John McGuire appeared on the ballot. The voting process immediately began after the results of the second vote were announced.
Voting ended at 7:30 p.m. and the final results came in with Nick Freitas receiving 56% of the vote and John McGuire receiving 44%.
Freitas gave a victory speech from a stage in front of his tent. After fighting with his own party for months, Freitas say the race against Spanberger is the fight he wanted.
“No matter which candidate is nominated by Republican insiders today, my commitment to the issues that matter most to the people of Central Virginia won’t change,” said Abigail Spanberger in a press release Saturday morning. LWhether it’s lowering prescription drug costs for seniors, expanding broadband internet access for our rural counties, protecting our neighbors with pre-existing conditions, standing up to China, or keeping workers and their families safe during the COVID-19 crisis, I’ve been proud to represent the values of the Seventh District in Congress,” said Spanberger. “I’ll continue working with both Republicans and Democrats to get things done, and I look forward to victory in November. Our district needs someone who puts country before party, not the other way around.”
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