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Virginia Rep. Abigail Spanberger is running for governor instead of seeking reelection to the House

HENRICO, Va. (AP) — U.S. Rep. Abigail Spanberger announced Monday she will run for Virginia governor in 2025 instead of seeking reelection to the U.S. House next year.

Spanberger, a three-term Democrat, made the announcement in a campaign video, highlighting the importance of lowering prescription drug prices, growing the middle class and easing inflation. In a video titled “What Matters Most,” Spanberger also emphasized the importance of recruiting and retaining teachers “and stopping extremists from shredding women’s reproductive rights.”

“Our country and our Commonwealth are facing fundamental threats to our rights, our freedoms, and to our democracy,” Spanberger said. “While some politicians in Richmond focus on banning abortion and books, what they’re not doing is helping people.”

Spanberger represents Virginia’s 7th Congressional District, a key swing seat in northern Virginia that will be up for election next year. Her decision not to seek reelection in the House could lead to a competitive Democratic primary in the 7th. A handful of Republican candidates have also already announced campaigns.

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The former CIA officer and law enforcement officer for the U.S. Postal Service won her first congressional race in a district that had been held by Republicans for almost 50 years.

The Commonwealth prohibits its governors from serving consecutive terms. That’s led to intense speculation about Republican Gov. Glenn Youngkin’s next political move, as well as early jockeying in effective shadow campaigns for the chief executive’s office.

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As for other potential gubernatorial candidates, Richmond Mayor Levar Stoney, a Democrat, is expected to announce campaign plans soon.

Among Republicans, Attorney General Jason Miyares and Lt. Gov. Winsome Earle-Sears are widely seen in political circles as likely contenders. Neither has publicly committed to a run, and both have also said they were focused on this year’s legislative races.

Outgoing Republican state Sen. Amanda Chase may also run. Chase, who lost a June primary and ran unsuccessfully for her party’s nomination for governor in 2021, said she’s ruled out running for the U.S. Senate next year and is contemplating another run for governor or lieutenant governor, characterizing the latter of those two as more likely.

Last month, former Virginia House Speaker Eileen Filler-Corn announced she would not run for governor in 2025 and will instead run next year to represent the competitive northern Virginia congressional seat being vacated by a fellow Democrat, U.S. Rep. Jennifer Wexton.