Conservative in Virginia jumps into 2022 House race in district of vulnerable Democrat

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With the Democrats in control of the White House and Congress in Washington and the governor’s office and legislature in Richmond, Va., Republican Taylor Keeney say she can’t remain “on the sidelines.”

And on Wednesday morning, Keeney announced her candidacy for the House in Virginia’s 7th Congressional District in hopes of challenging two-term Democratic Rep. Abigail Spanberger, whom the National Republican Congressional Committee (NRCC) considers one of the most vulnerable Democrats running for reelection in the 2022 midterms.

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The contest in the central Virginia district will likely be one of the key races across the country to decide if the Republicans win back the House majority.

“Looking at the direction things are going in Richmond and in Washington I can’t sit on the sidelines anymore. We have big issues facing this country between out of control spending, a crisis at the border, and teachers unions controlling our children’s education,” Keeney emphasized in a statement to Fox News.

And taking aim at Spanberger, she charged that “we have a far-left representative who says one thing and does another, or doesn’t do anything at all. I know how to solve problems and get things done, and I know the issues facing Central Virginia – it’s what I have done my entire career. That’s why I’m getting into this race – to bring new conservative leadership to Washington.”

Keeney, a first-time candidate and a mother of two young children, is the founder of Little Hands Virginia, a nonprofit she launched two years ago ensure that newborns through 3-year-olds in and around Richmond have the basic essentials needed to thrive. A policy and communications veteran who served as press secretary for former Republican Gov. Bob McDonnell, Keeney also advises and volunteers for Higher Achievement-Richmond, which assists students in systemically under-resourced communities.

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The district includes portions of Chesterfield and Henrico counties in the western suburbs of Richmond, parts of Spotsylvania County just outside of Fredericksburg, and all of Orange, Culpeper, Goochland, Louisa, Nottoway, Amelia and Powhatan counties. The seat’s been a top target for the NRCC since Spanberger, a former CIA officer, narrowly defeated GOP Rep. Dave Brat in 2018. Spanberger won reelection last November by a razor-thin margin.

“Spanberger and her liberal polices are hurting families,” Keeney charged in her campaign launch video.

“I’m tired of Abigail Spanberger’s hypocrisy and the Democrats’ extreme agenda. And I’m tired of the same career politicians failing to turn the seat from blue back to red,” she argued.

Keeney becomes the fourth Republican candidate to enter the race. Among those running is Tina Ramirez, the founder of the nonprofit Hardwired Global and an advocate for greater religious freedom who last year unsuccessfully ran for the GOP nomination in the congressional district. Two weeks ago, she launched a second bid for the seat.

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The GOP controlled the House for eight years before losing the majority in the chamber in the 2018 midterms. But while Republicans lost the White House and their Senate majority in the 2020 contests, in the battle for the House they defied expectations and took a big bite out of the Democrats’ majority in November’s elections and only need a net gain of five seats in next year’s midterms to regain control of the chamber.