By Laura Vozzella, Washington Post
RICHMOND — Former vice president Joe Biden on Monday endorsed Abigail Spanberger, the Democrat trying to unseat Rep. Dave Brat in Virginia’s 7th Congressional District.
“In all my years in politics, I can say that Abigail is the only former CIA Operative and Girl Scout Leader that I have had the good fortune to endorse,” Biden said in a written statement. “And I’m proud to do so because I know Abigail has what it takes to win in November. As a member of Congress, Abigail will work across the aisle to deliver common sense solutions and have a lasting and positive impact on the lives of the people of the 7th District.”
Biden, who is considering a 2020 presidential bid, has endorsed 14 other candidates for federal, state and local offices around the country this year, according to Ballotpedia. But this is the first Virginia race he has waded into since last year, when he campaigned for now-Gov. Ralph Northam (D) and endorsed five Democrats in House of Delegates races.
“I am incredibly humbled by Vice President Biden’s gracious endorsement,” Spanberger said in a written statement. “Because of his steadfast leadership, enduring optimism, and abiding belief in the power of public service, Vice President Biden has played a transformational role in shaping the future of our country for the better. His support of our campaign is continued proof we are fighting the good fight, and my team and I are proud to have earned his support.”
Spanberger, a former CIA officer making her first bid for elective office, is in a tight race with Brat, who won the seat four years ago after toppling then-House Majority Leader Eric Cantor in a GOP primary.
A Monmouth University poll released last week found Spanberger leads Brat 47 percent to 42 percent among all potential voters in the central Virginia district, a longtime GOP stronghold that’s a mix of Richmond suburbs and rural areas. The poll found 2 percent favor Libertarian Joe Walton and 9 percent are undecided.
Brat was a little-known Randolph-Macon College economics professor with tea party backing when he pulled off his stunning primary upset over Cantor. He won reelection two years ago by 16 percentage points.
This year, Brat is contending with a strong challenge from Spanberger, who could benefit from antipathy toward Trump in the district’s suburban areas. The Cook Political Report classifies the race as a “toss-up.”
“Congress is only as good as the women and men who serve there,” Biden said in his endorsement. “That means we must do everything in our power to ensure principled, courageous, and honorable public servants run for office and win. Abigail has proved herself to be one of those people.”