State Senator Bryce Reeves (R-Spotsylvania) is running for the GOP nomination for Virginia’s Seventh Congressional District. The region is considered a swing district and Republicans nationally expect to do well in the 2022 midterm congressional elections. The nominee will likely challenge incumbent Representative Abigail Spanberger (D-VA-07), who has warned her party about the risks to moderates caused by progressive messaging and policy.
“Under President Trump our economy was humming, people were working, and government did not dominate or intrude in our lives and livelihood. But under Joe Biden and Abigail Spanberger, an intrusive, progressive government is failing us, badly. Spanberger has failed to make the Seventh District what it should be – the best place to work, live, and raise a family,” Reeves said in a Friday press release.
He joins a field with several candidates including former Governor Bob McDonnell staffer Taylor Keeney; candidate for the 2020 nomination Tina Ramirez; intelligence officer John Castorani, Attorney Derrick Anderson, and Gary Barve.
Delegate John McGuire (R-Henrico) is running for reelection in two weeks, but in a Monday press release, he hinted at a potential run for the nomination, comparing his fundraising with other congressional candidates. The Virginia Scope reports that outspoken Senator Amanda Chase (R-Chesterfield) is also considering a run for the seat.
CNalysis Director Chaz Nuttycombe compared the district seven nomination to the district two nomination. “They already got their best candidate against [Representative Elaine Luria (D-VA-02),” he said.
“[State Senator Jen Kiggans (R-Virginia Beach)] is pretty much the best Republican that money could buy, that they could get to run against [Luria.] When it comes to Spanberger, there isn’t really anyone that concrete lined up. I think Tina Ramirez could be good candidate, but they don’t have a state senator running against [Spanberger,]” Nuttycombe said.
“My campaign is about freedom, limited constitutional government and the dignity and worth of every human being. As a Christian, a former Army Ranger, and a former police detective, I have dedicated my life to serving others and that is exactly what I will do if the voters give me the honor of serving them in the United States Congress,” Reeves said in his announcement.
Redistricting Delays Complicate the Race
Due to delays in the delivery of 2020 Census data and the Virginia Redistricting Commission’s failures, Virginia’s congressional map hasn’t been redistricted yet, and it’s not clear where the boundaries will eventually fall. There’s potential for an east-west orientation unifying parts of greater Richmond and Charlottesville, or a more north-south orientation that would give Republicans an advantage.
The new boundaries will be important to potential candidates, including Reeves. He lives in Spotsylvania, a county that is split between the seventh and the first congressional districts. The composition of the new seventh district could also influence whether or not the GOP nominee will face Spanberger.
“The thing is, Spanberger may not be in the new seventh,” Nuttycombe said. “She’s smart, she knows when she can’t win. So I think she’ll just step out if she gets a dougle-digit Trump district.”
The stage is already set for a classically-contentious Republican Party of Virginia nomination cycle, with old feuds from the Senate Republican Caucus ready to resurface. Reeves is the Republican Co-Whip.
Chase, who does not caucus with Senate Republicans because of conflicts with the leadership, has already told her supporters not to support Reeves.
She is powerful among hard-line Republican voters, and represents part of the seventh congressional district under current lines. But at the end of 2020, Reeves staffer Mark Snesavage drew attention during Chase’s campaign for the gubernatorial nomination by helming the Unfit Virginia PAC, which aimed at preventing Chase’s nomination.
In January 2021, the Virginia Senate censured Chase in a Democrat-led resolution, related to her presence at and comments about the January 6 rally-turned-riot. Although several Republicans voted against the resolution, Reeves voted in favor of it after criticizing the resolution in committee.
“My supporters will not be supporting Senator Bryce Reeves for Congress,” Chase tweeted Friday.