This isn’t the first time the moderate Spanberger has distanced herself from the progressive speaker from California. She has never backed Pelosi as a speaker and has made no secret of it since toppling in the 2018 “blue wave” midterm elections the largely suburban central Virginia district that Republicans had occupied for decades.
But on Sept. 30, Spanberger issued a statement chastising the speaker for her handling of legislation intended to curb Congressional stock trading. The legislation was a response to reports of ethically questionable and highly advantageous transactions during the early weeks of the coronavirus pandemic by members of Congress with inside information about the impending deadly crisis.
As The Post reported on Sept. 30, Pelosi and the House Administration Committee drafted their own bill that Spanberger said was “designed to fail.”
She said Pelosi had promised a House vote on the trade ban bill by the end of September, in time for Spanberger to tout his pivotal role in a strong bipartisan stance against insider personal trading. government in its race against Republican Yesli Vega, a member. of the Prince William Board of County Supervisors. At the last minute, Democratic leaders unveiled their bill which experts say is overbroad and has a huge loophole, a development that delayed any vote until after the Congressional recess, pushing it into the lame post-election session.
“This moment marks a failure of House leadership — and it’s yet another example of why I believe the Democratic Party needs new leadership in the halls of Capitol Hill, as I did. know for a long time,” Spanberger wrote.
That poses three potential scenarios for Spanberger after next month’s election, two of which would marginalize her if re-elected.
In the first (and most likely), the GOP wins a majority, House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) replaces Pelosi as president, and Spanberger and the rest of his party are relegated to a quasi-relevance as a minority in the House.
In the second, the Democrats retain their majority and re-elect Pelosi as chairwoman, allowing her to bury Spanberger in meaningless committees in retaliation.
It’s only in the third — and least likely — that Spanberger’s star might rise: Democrats retain a majority and elect a new president, as she advocated.
The downside for Spanberger is that she risks alienating some of her liberal Democratic supporters with her attack on Pelosi. But it’s a risk that’s more than offset by the benefit of neutralizing Vega and GOP claims in campaign advertising that Spanberger “votes with Pelosi 100 percent of the time.”
The risk is further mitigated by the inability of Pelosi and Democratic leaders to limit domestic financial support for Spanberger’s campaign. A net loss of just five seats gives the GOP a majority in the House, making Spanberger’s close race a must win for Democrats.
The high stakes of the race are evident in the millions of dollars both sides have spent or committed to the race which totaled $18 million as of Oct. 3, according to tracking by the nonpartisan, nonpartisan Virginia Public Access Project (VPAP). non-profit.
This is the first race in the redistributed district that encompasses suburban, exurban and rural areas of Virginia, known for their shifting partisan loyalties and aversion to candidates seen as too far removed from the mainstream.
Precincts that make up the new 7th District gave Republican Glenn Youngkin 52% of the vote last fall in his winning gubernatorial race, just a year after he voted for Democrat Joe Biden for president, according to VPAP. The widest recent margin came in 2018 for Sen. Tim Kaine, a Democrat who garnered more than 55% of the vote in those constituencies over a far-right Republican challenger.
In Virginia’s new swingable 7th District, Spanberger has little to lose, potentially a lot to gain, from attacking Pelosi.