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Ex-GOP Sen. Warner endorses Virginia Democrat over Dave Brat

Ex-GOP Sen. Warner endorses Virginia Democrat over Dave Brat
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Former Virginia GOP Sen. John Warner has endorsed Democrat Abigail Spanberger in her race against Republican incumbent Rep. Dave Brat, according to the Richmond Times-Dispatch.

Spanberger is a former CIA officer challenging Brat in Virginia’s 7th District. Brat is a member of the conservative House Freedom Caucus and has received President TrumpDonald John TrumpDeath toll in Northern California wildfire rises to 48: authorities Graham backs bill to protect Mueller Denham loses GOP seat in California MORE’s endorsement.

"It goes beyond politics now. I’m a Republican, I’ll finish a Republican as I cruise through my 91st year. But you’ve got to put the nation’s interests and the state’s interests ahead of politics," Warner told NBC News.

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In a statement, Warner said Spanberger “brings a strong understanding of the complex world beyond our nation’s shores and how that impacts the economy and jobs right here in central Virginia.”

Spanberger thanked Warner for his endorsement in a statement.

"Although we have some differences of opinion, we both hold true our commitment to our country and Virginia,” she said.

Brat received Trump’s endorsement in October as he seeks reelection in his toughest race since entering the House in 2014. He won reelection in 2016 by a 15-point margin.

A poll from Christopher Newport University from last month showed Spanberger with a 1-point lead over Brat.

Warner served as Virginia’s Senator for 30 years and has now endorsed two Democrats in close House races in Virginia. He also endorsed Leslie Cockburn in her bid against incumbent Republican Rep. Tom GarrettThomas (Tom) Alexander GarrettRepublican Riggleman defeats Dem in Virginia's 5th District Election Day: An hour-by-hour viewer’s guide Ex-GOP Sen. Warner endorses Virginia Democrat over Dave Brat MORE.

"Once you’re retired and doing what you want to do, you’re free of any constraints," Warner told NBC. "I just feel that the Democrats have got superior credentials to what is being offered."

Warner also endorsed Democratic nominee Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonOvernight Defense — Presented by Raytheon — First lady's office pushes for ouster of national security aide | Trump taps retired general as ambassador to Saudis | Mattis to visit border troops | Record number of female veterans to serve in Congress Election Countdown: Lawsuits fly in Florida recount fight | Nelson pushes to extend deadline | Judge says Georgia county violated Civil Rights Act | Biden, Sanders lead 2020 Dem field in poll | Bloomberg to decide on 2020 by February What midterm exit polls tell us about 2020 MORE and her running mate, Sen. Tim KaineTimothy (Tim) Michael KaineOvernight Defense: What the midterms mean for defense panels | Pompeo cancels North Korea meeting | Trump eyes Kim summit in early 2019 | Pentagon drops name for border mission Five takeaways from a divisive midterm election GOP to retain Senate majority MORE (D-Va.), in the 2016 presidential election against Trump, who lost Virginia by 5 points in the election.

"He has no inner compass at all," Warner said of Trump. "He’s put a tremendous divide in this country."