Rep. Dave Brat (R-VA) caused a stir four years ago when he defeated then-House Majority Leader Eric Cantor in the GOP primary.

Now Brat appears to have his own troubles as The Cook Political Report changed his Virginia’s 7th District from Lean Republican to Toss-Up.

The courts redrew the 7th District in 2016 and now its “anchored by the professional Richmond suburbs.” Cook Political Report continued:

In June, former undercover CIA operative Abigail Spanberger crushed a well-funded Democratic primary opponent with 73 percent of the vote in an impressive display of grassroots support. Spanberger grew up in Henrico County (the 7th CD) writing a diary in code. As a pragmatic woman with a non-political resume, she could offer a problematic contrast for Brat, a Freedom Caucus member who complained last year about women “in my grill” at town halls.

The top of the ticket could also be a big problem for Brat. Democratic Sen. Tim Kaine is highly popular in the Richmond suburbs, while ultra-conservative GOP Senate nominee Corey Stewart is a highly polarizing figure who lost the 7th CD 61 percent to 33 percent in his primary. In 2017, well-funded GOP gubernatorial nominee Ed Gillespie carried the 7th CD by four points. If Stewart isn’t competitive, Brat could suffer if Republicans stay home.

Spanberger has the support of EMILY’s List along with Governor Ralph Northam and Richmond Mayor Levar Stoney, both Democrats. She also has a strong fundraising ability, pulling in $903,000 in May. While Brat pushed against House leadership before, the NRCC has become active in his re-election campaign. That may not be enough:

The Quinnipiac poll found that by a margin of 53% to 39%, Virginians want Democrats controlling the House. And half of all voters say they are less likely to support a candidate who strongly backs Mr Trump.

Trump took the district by 50% compared to Mitt Romney in 2012, who took it with 56%. But remember, the courts redrew the lines. Brat belongs to the Freedom Caucus and considered “a generally reliable ally of” Trump’s. Despite this he has “avoided talking too much about the president.”

Brat “has shied away from Stewart.” After all, Kaine will likely win the Senate seat and even the Senate Republican caucus decided not to support Stewart. This move might help Brat since I’ve seen many articles around the web about how Stewart is helping the Democrats win in Virginia, especially since he won the GOP primary with a low turnout with only 136,000 votes. From The Economist:

The decline in Mr Stewart’s vote share could portend a drop-off in overall Republican participation. That could mean trouble for Ms Comstock, Mr Brat and Mr Taylor, all of whom represent heavily suburban, increasingly diverse districts where many of Mr Trump’s policies are unpopular.

This includes his administration’s former policy of separating immigrant families at the southern border, which was loudly supported by Mr Stewart, who has complained about illegal immigration since he was a local government official busy with trash removal and sewer systems.

[Featured image via Wikimedia Commons]


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