VA-07 is a Washington-oriented suburban district where Prince William constitutes 1/3 of the votes and the Fredericksburg area (Stafford, FXBG, Spotsy) constitutes another 41.6% of the electorate.
Traditionally, in order to bump off an incumbent one has to achieve two objectives early: (1) give a reason to fire the incumbent and (2) give a reason to hire the challenger. For the incumbent, the task is to define the opposition early so as to force them to overcome (2) before they can define the framework of the debate.
Spanberger initially led with a 46-41 margin against Prince William Supervisor Yesli Vega before unloading with a series of brutal negative attack ads. VA-07 is thought to be a D+1 seat, which means that Vega needs about a 7-point lift in order to knock off a Democratic contender who has had to reintroduce herself to a new district with new lines.
Of course, you want to know how the rest of us can tell Spanberger is in trouble?
No one is releasing their polls.
If Vega and Spanberger are at present tied? Watch out folks. Spanberger et al. have spent millions in a DC market trying to stem the tide and it hasn’t moved the needle much at all. Which might be all Spanberger needs if she is playing defense, but never a good sign if Vega is making serious inroads with suburban women.
Should Republican intensity remain high, expect Vega to get a narrow but hard-fought win thanks to the national climate.
Whether Republicans will be able to hold onto VA-07 in 2024 remains on Biden’s unfavorable numbers remaining in the basement. YetVega would have all of the advantages of incumbency, which should provide the edge that Spanberger at present — and it should be admitted — is leveling masterfully well. Any other campaign team would have folded early.