Spanberger’s victory in one of state’s most competitive races keeps the seat in Democratic hands after she flipped it blue in the 2018 midterm elections. President Trump won the district in 2016 by about 8 percentage points.
She won with 50.9% of the district’s vote compared to Freitas’ 49.1%, a difference of more than 7,800 votes, according to the Associated Press.
Spanberger, a former CIA officer, has made a reputation for herself as a moderate during her first term in Congress despite Republican efforts during the campaign to paint her as too liberal for the district. She described House Democrats’ election results as a “failure” during the party’s caucus call on Thursday.
“I think that we need to be pretty clear about the fact that Tuesday, from a congressional standpoint, it was a failure. It was not a success,” Spanberger said on the call, according to audio obtained by the Washington Post. “We hear colleagues come and go. This isn’t an issue of me being a first-term member and emotionally concerned about the fact that colleagues have left.”
She cited her party’s decision to support socialism and the Defund the Police movement as a key reason for many Democratic candidates struggling on Election Day.
“The number one concern in things that people brought to me in my [district] that I barely re-won, was defunding the police,” Spanberger said. “And I’ve heard from colleagues who have said ‘Oh, it’s the language of the streets. We should respect that.’ We’re in Congress. We are professionals. We are supposed to talk about things in the way where we mean what we’re talking about. If we don’t mean we should defund the police, we shouldn’t say that.”
“We want to talk about funding social services, and ensuring good engagement in community policing, let’s talk about what we are for,” Spanbergered continued. “And we need to not ever use the words ‘socialist’ or ‘socialism’ ever again. Because while people think it doesn’t matter, it does matter. And we lost good members because of it.”
The Associated Press has called 411 of the 435 House seats up for grabs as of Sunday, with Democrats set to keep their House majority despite losing four seats. The party currently has claimed 215 seats compared to the Republican’s 196 seats as of the time of publication.