GOP Rep. Dave Brat on Wednesday conceded defeat to Democrat Abigail Spanberger in the hotly contested race in Virginia’s 7th Congressional District.
Networks had called the race for Ms. Spanberger Tuesday evening, but Mr. Brat held off on publicly stating his intentions.
In a statement, Mr. Brat thanked the volunteers and donors who supported him in the race.
“We may not have won this election, but I am truly humbled by all of the support I have received over the past four years from so many Virginians,” he said.
With 100 percent of precincts reporting, Ms. Spanberger led Mr. Brat by about 2 percentage points. An apparent loser can request a recount in Virginia as long as the margin between them and the apparent winner doesn’t exceed 1 percent.
“While the registrars across the district are still reviewing the votes, it is looking like the voters have spoken in this race,” Mr. Brat said.
Ms. Spanberger’s victory marks a stunning turnaround for Mr. Brat, who stunned the political world four years ago when he took down former House Majority Leader Eric Cantor in a GOP primary.
A Democrat had not been elected to represent the 7th district, which stretches from the Richmond area up north near Washington, D.C.’s outer suburbs, in close to 50 years.
“In the face of millions and millions of dollars of money from around this country that poured into Virginia to attack my record, I stayed true to my principles and did what I told the voters I would do,” Mr. Brat said.
He cited accomplishments like the GOP tax cuts, a boost in money for the military, as well as his fights to stop online human trafficking and combat the opioid epidemic.
“Despite the fact the media would not report it, this is a record of results, not resistance,” he said.
Democrats will now hold seven House seats in Virginia to the GOP’s four in the new Congress.
Democrat Jennifer Wexton defeated GOP Rep. Barbara Comstock in the 10th District, and Democrat Elaine Luria ousted GOP Rep. Scott Taylor in the 2nd District. Republican Denver Riggleman did hold the 5th District for the GOP by defeating Democrat Leslie Cockburn in another race Democrats had been eyeing.
Democratic Sen. Tim Kaine also easily won re-election Tuesday over Republican Corey Stewart, ensuring that Virginia will send two Democrats to the U.S. Senate next year.
Democratic Sen. Mark Warner, who narrowly survived a challenge from Republican Ed Gillespie in 2014, will next face voters in 2020.