Creating a false narrative around parents' rights and painting transgender students as dangerous is not a winning strategy in northern Virginia. That's the lesson Republican Yesli Vega learned when she lost the election against Rep. Abigail Spanberger Tuesday evening.
Spanberger, a former CIA operative with a history in law enforcement and a record of bipartisanship, pulled out a win in a nationally watched race in Virginia's seventh Congressional District.
The district had been redrawn to include more significant portions of the Washington, D.C., exurbs, which have progressively trended bluer over several recent election cycles.
Vega tried to tie Spanberger to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi in campaign advertisements, often painting Pelosi as enemy number one.
Republican Gov. Glenn Youngkin and former President Donald Trump had endorsed the conservative former police officer whose stance on abortion included the notion that rape couldn't cause pregnancy because "it's not organic."
Vega distanced herself from high-profile Trump events but fully embraced Youngkin, who also sold himself as a moderate in the state's last election.
While appearing at a campaign rally for Vega a day after Paul Pelosi, husband of the Speaker, was attacked in the couple's San Francisco home, Youngkin made a joke about sending Pelosi back to be with her husband.
Youngkin was elected on the false premise that teachers were encouraging white students to be ashamed of themselves by teaching Critical Race Theory behind the backs of parents. For the first time in eight years, Virginia voters voted for a Republican governor in 2021 after Youngkin successfully made this his campaign issue.
Tuesday's win secures Spanberger her third term as a congresswoman from the commonwealth of Virginia.
Shortly after media organizations projected her win, Spanberger thanked her supporters on Twitter.
She wrote, "Thank you, VA-07. We did it!"