Republicans choose Frietas to challenge Spangberger for Virginia congressional seat

Republicans choose Frietas to challenge Spangberger for Virginia congressional seat
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Republicans chose Virginia delegate Nicholas Freitas at the GOP convention for Virginia's 7th Congressional District seat, setting up a blockbuster battle against him and first-term lawmaker Rep. Abigail SpanbergerAbigail Davis SpanbergerDemocrats go big on diversity with new House recruits Republicans choose Frietas to challenge Spangberger for Virginia congressional seat Over 570 women registered to run for office, topping 2018 record MORE (D).

Roughly 2,500 registered delegates made the trip to Meadow Event Park — the site of the Virginia State Fair — for a “walk-through” convention, The Washington Post reported.

The size of the crowd was considerably smaller than the 5,200 delegates that were registered, most likely because of the near-100 degree weather and concerns about the coronavirus pandemic.

Freitas, a former Army Green Beret, fended off a crowded field of five other Republicans in the convention to face Spanberger, who flipped the district in 2018 and is a top GOP target this year.
 
“Today’s a victory,” Freitas reportedly told supporters. “But it’s the victory that launches another fight. … We need to show the contrast between what we believe … versus what they’re being force-fed by the left in this country right now.”
 
The Associated Press reported Freitas's victory around 9:30 p.m. Saturday night, receiving 56 percent of the vote.
 
In response, Spanberger released a statement that focused on her willingness for bipartisanship.

“Our district needs someone who puts country before party, not the other way around,” she said, according to the Post.

Virginia permits district party committees to decide whether to pick congressional nominees in primaries or at conventions, which are open only to party delegates who tend to be less moderate than most voters.
 
Spanberger unseated former Rep. Dave Brat (R) by 2 points in 2018 in the central Virginia district that includes some of the Richmond suburbs.
 
Spanberger has seen her profile rise in the House, using her background as a former national security expert to discuss her concerns about the president's position regarding Russia.
 
She has also proven to be a strong fundraiser, bringing in over $1 million in the second quarter of 2020 and ending June with over $4 million cash on hand.
 
The Cook Political Report, a nonpartisan election handicapper, rates the race as a "toss up."
 
Marty Johnson contributed to this report. 
 
Updated 10:17 p.m.