Democrat Abigail Spanberger appears to have knocked off congressman Dave Brat in Virginia’s seventh congressional district. Brat was elevated to national prominence in 2014 with his shocking defeat of House majority leader Eric Cantor, but with 99 percent of precincts reporting and not many votes left to be counted, he trails by approximately 2,000 votes.
Spanberger’s victory in a traditionally conservative district — spanning Richmond suburbs in the south to more rural towns toward the north — is the type of result being replicated across the country in House elections tonight. The seventh has been a bit more reliably Republican than, say, the tenth, which flipped from Republican Barbara Comstock to Democrat Jennifer Wexton earlier tonight. The tenth went for Hillary Clinton by ten points in 2016; the seventh went for Trump, and in 2017, for Republican Ed Gillespie in the gubernatorial race he lost soundly. But Trump’s popularity there has since dwindled, and this district was a prime candidate for Henry Olsen’s prediction that so-called “RINOs” would vote Democratic. Brat’s defeat is just another sign that the political environment has changed quite a bit since his rise to prominence.