Spanberger’s Low-Energy Launch

by Shaun Kenney

Long rumored and much anticipated, Rep. Abigail Spanberger (D-VA) announced her intention to run for Virginia governor in 2025 just weeks after Republicans led by Governor Glenn Youngkin fell short of re-capturing leadership of the General Assembly.

Spanberger’s announcement — being panned as “low energy” by most observers — came just days after Virginia Republicans fell a few thousand votes short of capturing the Virginia State Senate and gaining parity in the House of Delegates — with just one vote dividing both chambers:

“The greatest honor of my life has been to represent Virginians in the U.S. House. Today, I am proud to announce that I will be working hard to gain the support and trust of all Virginians to continue this service as the next Governor of Virginia,” said Spanberger. “Virginia is where I grew up, where I am raising my own family, and where I intend to build a stronger future for the next generation of Virginians. As a former CIA case officer, former federal law enforcement officer, and current Member of Congress, I have always believed in the value of public service. I look forward to serving the Seventh District through the end of this term and then pursuing the important work of bringing Virginia together to keep our Commonwealth strong.

Meanwhile, all eyes turn towards Richmond as Mayor Levar Stoney — former chief of staff to Governor Terry McAuliffe — is anticipated to launch his own run for the Governor’s Mansion in 2025.

The dichotomy of Spanberger — a liberal Democrat with progressive backers — running against Stoney, the progressive champion who succeeded in tearing down Confederate statues, gravesites, and memorials near and along Richmond’s Monument Avenue during the BLM/Antifa riots of 2020 backed by longstanding Clinton-era donors remains a key facet of the race to watch.  Should Spanberger be able to convince progressive voters with progressive dollars and messaging, will it be enough to turn off the suburbs where Spanberger has succeeded in running, from Northern Virginia to Chesterfield to Fredericksburg?

Conversely, can Levar Stoney convince liberal voters with liberal donors and messaging that the scenes America saw in Richmond just a few short months ago will not be replayed in our public schools and institutions?

One thing is for sure.  The Democrats will have gobs of cash to smash one another in a state where Biden leads Trump convincingly — a sure lay-up should Trump re-capture the White House in 2024.

…that is, unless Virginia AG Jason Miyares or Virginia LG Winsome Sears is able to successfully put together the coalition of the future for Virginia Republicans.

The Most Diverse Ticket in Virginia History (TM) had coattails long enough to bring Youngkin in for the ride in 2021.  Should that energy continue in 2025, Virginia Republicans may be able to offer a third way within their own party strictures against a Democratic Party all too eager to outflank one another in pursuit of the impossible.

Of course, Spanberger will have a first task.  Making sure that VA-07 remains in the Democratic camp, a mission that is by no means certain according to Cook Political Report.

Then there is the “meh” problem, which has helped Spanberger in the past as an anodyne candidate, but doesn’t exactly rile up anyone’s base:





Whether or not Spanberger’s middle-of-the-road persona will match the aims and desires of her progressive backers is another question altogether.  Certainly Stoney is skilled enough to show the contrast on positions he has arguably championed and led on.  Whether Spanberger can match much less find that energy remains to be seen.

Shaun Kenney is the senior editor of The Republican Standard.

Republished with permission from The Republican Standard.