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Abigail Spanberger

Abigail Anne Davis Spanberger[1] (born August 7, 1979) is a former American federal law enforcement agent, former CIA operations officer, and a member of the U.S. House of Representatives from Virginia's 7th congressional district.[2] The district includes several suburban and rural areas between Richmond and Fredericksburg.

Abigail Spanberger
Abigail Spanberger, official 116th Congress photo portrait.jpg
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Virginia's 7th district
Assumed office
January 3, 2019
Preceded byDave Brat
Personal details
Abigail Anne Davis

(1979-08-07) August 7, 1979 (age 40)
Red Bank, New Jersey, U.S.
Political partyDemocratic
Spouse(s)Adam Spanberger
EducationUniversity of Virginia (BA)
Purdue University (MBA)
WebsiteHouse website

On June 12, 2018 she secured the Democratic nomination to challenge incumbent Representative Dave Brat and then won the general election by a narrow margin on November 6.[3][4]

Early life and educationEdit

Abigail Spanberger was born in Red Bank, New Jersey, on August 7, 1979.[5] When she was 13, her family relocated to the Short Pump area outside Richmond, Virginia, and she attended Tucker High School.[6] While in high school, she joined the Spanish language immersion program which sparked her interest in languages. She speaks Spanish, French, German, and some Italian. Spanberger was later a page for Senator Chuck Robb.[6]

Spanberger earned a Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Virginia and a Master of Business Administration from a joint program between the GISMA Business School in Germany and Purdue University's Krannert School of Management.[6]

Early careerEdit

In the early 2000s, Spanberger worked as a federal postal inspector on money laundering cases, as well as intercepting shipments of illegal drugs into the United States.[7]

In 2006, Spanberger joined the Central Intelligence Agency as an operations officer. She worked overseas on classified matters of national security that included intelligence gathering on terrorism and nuclear proliferation.[8]

Upon exiting the federal government, Spanberger entered the private sector and was hired by Royall & Company (now EAB) where she worked to help academic institutions diversify their student bodies.[citation needed]

She was appointed to serve on the Virginia Governor's Fair Housing Board, which serves to ensure an adequate supply of affordable housing around the Commonwealth.[9][10]

U.S. House of RepresentativesEdit


Spanberger speaking at a campaign rally on election day eve in 2018

In July 2017, Spanberger announced her candidacy for the United States House of Representatives in Virginia's 7th congressional district in the 2018 election against Republican Dave Brat.[11][12] She made the final decision to run in the wake of the House of Representatives' vote to repeal the Affordable Care Act.[7]

On June 12, 2018, Spanberger defeated Dan Ward in the primary election for the Democratic Party nomination with 73% of the vote, receiving more votes than any other candidate in the Virginia primaries that day.[13] Her campaign out-raised Brat's campaign.[14] She won the seat by a narrow margin on November 6, defeating Brat by just over 6,600 votes.[4] While Brat won eight of the district's ten counties, Spanberger dominated the two largest counties, Henrico and Chesterfield, by a combined margin of over 30,000 votes; her margin in either county would have been enough individually to give her the victory.[15]

Spanberger's victory ended a 38-year hold on the district by Republicans; it had previously been numbered as the 3rd District before 1993. Tom Bliley won the seat in 1981 and handed it to future House Majority Leader Eric Cantor in 2001. Cantor held it until Brat upset him in the 2014 primary.


Spanberger was sworn into the U.S. House of Representatives for her first term on January 3, 2019.[16] In the election for Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives on the opening day of the 116th United States Congress, Spanberger voted for U.S. Representative Cheri Bustos, an Illinois Democrat, for speaker.[17] Spanberger maintained her campaign promise to support new leadership in the House.[18][19]

Committee assignmentsEdit


Caucus membershipsEdit

Political positionsEdit


Spanberger supports legal abortion.[24]


Although not a member of Congress when it passed, Spanberger criticized the 2017 Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (Trump tax cut) on the basis that it gave too much money to corporations and that it increased the national debt.[24] The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office forecasts that the 2017 Tax Act will increase the budget deficit by $2.289 trillion over the 2018-2027 decade, or $1.891 trillion after macro-economic feedback.[25]

Spanberger has called for the passage of the USMCA trade deal negotiated between the Trump administration, Mexico, and Canada.[26][27]


Spanberger called climate change "one of the greatest and most imminent threats to our economy, our national security, and our way of life" and promised to "stand up to attacks against science."[24] She said that the Green New Deal proposed by Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez a "bold compilation of ideas meant to address global climate change" but criticized it for allegedly including unrelated policy proposals and not identifying specific resolutions to the problems that it identifies. "Overall I am not a supporter of the Green New Deal," she said.[28]


Spanberger has called for a new version of the assault weapons ban that expired in 2004. She favors requiring background checks on private gun sales and supported a ban on bump stocks.[24]


Spanberger supports the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (Obamacare).[24]


Spanberger objected to President Donald Trump's travel bans and argued that they would aid in jihadist propaganda by allowing them to portray the United States as an anti-Muslim country. She has voiced her support for stronger border security measures but opposes Trump's proposed wall.[24] She voted for a bill that included funding for border infrastructure, technology at ports of entry and more customs and border patrol agents. She said that she did not support "sanctuary cities" but also referred to the term as "a campaign slogan a lot of people get caught up in." She added that it "degrades the value of the conversation if we're not actually talking about what the real concern is."[28] Spanberger called for a pathway to legal status for undocumented immigrants who abide by the laws, work, and pay taxes.[24]


On September 23, 2019 Spanberger joined six other freshmen Democrats in the House in calling for an impeachment inquiry into President Trump. They wrote in The Washington Post:

Electoral historyEdit

Democratic primary results[30]
Party Candidate Votes %
Democratic Abigail Spanberger 33,210 72.68
Democratic Daniel Ward 12,483 27.32
Total votes 45,693 100.0
Virginia's 7th congressional district, 2018[citation needed]
Party Candidate Votes %
Democratic Abigail Spanberger 176,079 50.3
Republican Dave Brat (incumbent) 169,295 48.4
Libertarian Joe Walton 4,216 1.2
n/a Write-ins 155 0.1
Total votes 349,745 100.0
Democratic gain from Republican

Personal lifeEdit

She married Adam Spanberger and they have three daughters. In 2014, she and her family moved back to Henrico County. They live in Glen Allen, Virginia.[31][32]

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ Abigail Davis Spanberger (Col ’01). University of Virginia.
  2. ^ "Former CIA Officer Abigail Spanberger is on a mission for Virginia's 7th District". RVA Magazine. Retrieved July 17, 2018.
  3. ^ "Spanberger wins Democratic primary in Virginia's 7th Congressional District". The Washington Post website. Retrieved July 17, 2018.
  4. ^ a b Almukhtar, Sarah (November 7, 2018). "Virginia's 7th House District Election Results: Dave Brat vs. Abigail Spanberger". The New York Times. Retrieved November 7, 2018.
  5. ^ Gonzales, Nathan L. (October 12, 2017). "Candidate Conversation - Abigail Spanberger (D)". Inside Elections. Retrieved November 7, 2018.
  6. ^ a b c "Abigail Spanberger's passion for languages led her to the CIA". The Richmond Times-Dispatch website. Retrieved July 17, 2018.
  7. ^ a b "This former CIA officer says she can beat Virginia Rep. Dave Brat". The Washington Examiner website. May 30, 2018. Retrieved July 17, 2018.
  8. ^ "The operative: Abigail Spanberger". The Chesterfield Observer website. Retrieved July 17, 2018.
  9. ^ "Abigail Spanberger: U.S. House, Virginia". Emily's List website. Retrieved July 17, 2018.
  10. ^ "DPOR : Fair Housing Board". March 29, 2018. Retrieved July 16, 2019.
  11. ^ "Abigail Spanberger becomes the fifth female candidate vying for the Democratic nomination to run against Republican Congressman Dave Brat". July 11, 2017. Retrieved November 4, 2018.
  12. ^ "'It's grilling time': Five women line up to challenge Rep. Brat". The Washington Post. July 24, 2017. Retrieved November 4, 2018.
  13. ^ Wilson, Patrick (June 12, 2018). "Abigail Spanberger easily defeats Dan Ward in 7th District Democratic primary". The Richmond Times-Dispatch. Retrieved November 7, 2018.
  14. ^ "Open Secrets breakdown of the 7th District". Open Secrets website. Retrieved July 17, 2018.
  15. ^ Virginia House results from CNN
  16. ^ CNN Wire. "Watch Abigail Spanberger swearing-in as new Congress begins". WTVR: Channel 6. Tribune Broadcasting. Retrieved January 18, 2019.
  17. ^ Haas, Karen Lehman. "FINAL VOTE RESULTS FOR ROLL CALL 2: Election of the Speaker". Roll Call Votes: 116th Congress, 1st Session. Clerk of the U.S. House of Representatives. Retrieved January 18, 2019.
  18. ^ CNN Wire. "Virginia congresswoman one of 12 Democrats to oppose Pelosi's bid for speaker". Channel 3, WTKR. Tribune Broadcasting. Retrieved January 18, 2019.
  19. ^ Portnoy, Jenna; Post, The Washington (September 22, 2019). "After a life of the gun, Abigail Spanberger wants control". The Ridgefield Press. Retrieved September 24, 2019.
  20. ^ "SPANBERGER SELECTED TO SERVE ON U.S. HOUSE COMMITTEE ON FOREIGN AFFAIRS & U.S. HOUSE COMMITTEE ON AGRICULTURE". Office of Congresswoman Abigail Spanberger. U.S. House of Representatives. Retrieved January 18, 2019.
  21. ^ "Peterson Announces House Agriculture Subcommittee Chairs for the 116th Congress". Archived from the original on January 30, 2019. Retrieved February 6, 2019.
  22. ^ "BLUE DOG COALITION ANNOUNCES LEADERSHIP, NEW MEMBERS FOR THE 116TH CONGRESS". Blue Dog Coalition. November 27, 2018. Retrieved December 14, 2018.
  23. ^ "New Democrat Coalition Inducts 30 Members-Elect and Elects New Leadership". New Democrat Coalition. November 30, 2018.
  24. ^ a b c d e f g Wilson, Patrick (October 27, 2018). "A look at where Brat and Spanberger stand on the issues". Richmond Times Dispatch. Retrieved September 28, 2019.
  25. ^ "CBO-Appendix B: The Effects of the 2017 Tax Act on CBO's Economic and Budget Projections, page 129" (PDF).
  26. ^ "Press Release: Spanberger Pushes for Final Progress on USMCA: "We Need to Get this Done"".
  27. ^ "Why these Democrats want to make a trade deal with Trump". Politico.
  28. ^ a b Portnoy, Jenna (February 20, 2019). "Virginia Rep. Abigail Spanberger quizzed on immigration in first town hall". The Washington Post. Retrieved September 28, 2019.
  29. ^ Washington Post, September 23, 2019
  30. ^ "2018 June Democratic Primary". Retrieved June 28, 2018.
  31. ^ Holladay, Hilary (November 2, 2018). "Election 2018: Dave Brat and Abigail Spanberger". Orange County Review. Retrieved November 7, 2018.
  32. ^ King, Sarah (May 12, 2019). "Virginia's Future Is Female". Retrieved May 21, 2019.

External linksEdit