Democratic Rep. Abigail Spanberger announces run for Virginia governor

Abigail Spanberger, D-VA, will not seek reelection in 2014 but instead will run to replace Gov. The House Democrat announced Monday that Glenn Youngkin, R-VA, will be the next governor.

After months of speculation, the announcement came after months of speculation about the two-term incumbent running for governor. This would, in turn leave a seat open in one of most competitive districts in the 2024 cycle. Those rumors intensified at the weekend, after Spanberger reportedly informed Virginia Democrats that she would not be running for reelection. She would then announce her gubernatorial campaign sometime next week.

In announcing the announcement of her candidacy, Spanberger stated, “Virginia, is where I grew-up, where I raise my family, and where a better future will be built for Virginians in the future.” As a former CIA officer, a former federal law enforcement official, and presently seated Member of Congress, Spanberger has always been devoted to public service. I look forward serving the Seventh District until the end of my term, and then continuing the important work to bring Virginia together to keep the Commonwealth strong.

Spanberger is running to replace Youngkin who will step down due to Virginia’s term limits, which prohibit governors from serving consecutively. Spanberger wants to return the governor’s office to Democratic control, after Youngkin successfully flipped the seat to red in 2021. This was a significant win for the state Republicans who wanted to advance their conservative agenda.


Spanberger’s retirement from the House could set the stage for a highly competitive and expensive 2024 race. Her retirement leaves a crucial seat open in Virginia, which has become increasingly competitive over the past few elections cycles.

A handful of Democrats could replace Spanberger if she decides to step down, setting up a crowded Democratic primary. State Del. Elizabeth Guzman, state Sen. Jeremy McPike, former Del. Hala Ayala and former National Security Council legal adviser Yevgeni Vindman are among the others.

A number of Republicans have announced that they will run for this seat. Spanberger’s announcement of retirement was seized upon by Republican groups, who cited her absence as a chance to increase their slim majority next year.

Delanie B. Bomar, a spokeswoman for National Republican Congressional Committee said that “nothing is going well for Democrats in Virginia’s Seventh District,” in a press release released shortly after Spanberger made his announcement. “Spanberger’s decision to join the other swing district Democrats in racing out the door makes the climb for House Democrats out of minority even steeper.”

In 2024, all 435 seats will be up for grabs as Republicans try to maintain their slim majority in lower chamber. The GOP has a slight edge in preparing for the next cycle of elections as 42 seats are competitive.

In contrast, only five Democrats must defend their seats within districts won by the former president Donald Trump. There are only enough GOP-held seats that are vulnerable to make things competitive.