Rep. Abigail Spanberger, D-Va., announced Monday that she won’t seek re-election to Congress next year to run for governor of Virginia in 2025.
“Our country and our commonwealth are facing fundamental threats to our rights, our freedoms and to our democracy,” Spanberger said. “While some politicians in Richmond focus on banning abortion and books, what they’re not doing is helping people.”
Spanberger said Virginians must stop “extremists from shedding women’s reproductive rights” and from “using teachers and our kids as political pawns.”
“Even in this moment of deep division, we can seize the opportunity,” she said. “I am running to serve all Virginians in every community across our commonwealth because it’s about time we do what’s right for everyone.”
Spanberger’s announcement comes after Virginia Democrats reclaimed full control of the state’s General Assembly in last week’s election. Spanberger is serving her third term as representative of Virginia’s 7th Congressional District. Democrats will have to defend Spanberger’s competitive seat in Congress in 2024.
Spanberger is seeking to fill Republican Gov. Glenn Youngkin’s seat after his term ends in January 2026. Under the state’s constitution, Youngkin cannot run for a consecutive term.
Youngkin faced tough losses during his state elections last week, as Democrats won control of the full legislature, defending their majority in the Senate and flipping the House. The governor had told voters that he would want a GOP-controlled legislature to enact a 15-week abortion ban in the next term, which voters rebuked.
Spanberger appears likely to have Democratic challengers in the gubernatorial race. Richmond Mayor Levar Stoney, for example, told the Richmond-Times Dispatch in April that he was planning to run for governor in 2025.
The race for Spanberger’s congressional seat is expected to be competitive, with Republicans in narrow control of the U.S. House. She is one of several House Democrats who have decided not to run for re-election in recent days. Rep. Brian Higgins, D-N.Y., announced Sunday that he would step down from his position in February, citing his frustrations with the dysfunction in Washington.
Spanberger is a former CIA officer and previously worked as a federal agent for the U.S. Postal Inspection Service agent. She was first elected to Congress by a narrow margin in 2018, flipping the longtime GOP seat.
This article was originally published on NBCNews.com