Why Spanberger Won’t Be Flipped So Easily

“Living in America” was the tune Apollo Creed grooved out to on his way to fight Russian Heavyweight Ivan Drago. A man of Apollo’s chiseled stature and size would be the perfect match against that Siberian Tiger. Draped in red, white, and blue for good measure. Fireworks, pizzaz, the blessings of James Brown. Apollo struted right into the ring. And, well, you all know what happened. If not, you’re the problem for another op-ed.

Talented men and women are climbing into the GOP primary in VA-7 to face Congresswoman Abigail Spanberger in the eventual general election. Whoever the nominee is, he/she must not do what Apollo did. Leave any star spangled cockiness at the door. Spanberger is no easy target.

In 2017, I was a Pre-K teacher in the heart of Orange County. A year before the election, and months and months before the Democratic primary, Abigail Spanberger had her signs up everywhere — all over Orange, up to Zions Crossroads, and spreading into Louisa. I was impressed. I had not even heard of her before and her signs were everywhere, maintaining quite a presence.

I never saw a Brat sign, even after Spanberger won the nomination. Not one Brat sign in overwhelmingly Trump Country.

In 2018, I moved to the Richmond area. Spanberger’s signs followed me, as well as her message. Every time I turned on the television or opened YouTube, she was campaigning and taking the district by storm. Ms. Spanberger was working her ass off.

Brat, who once challenged the status quo, found that he had become the status quo. Timid town halls and impotent ideas.

Spanberger was presenting herself as a caring mom, a champion of health care, and supporter of public education and educators. Her former background as a CIA officer was the icing on the cake. She pledged to hold town halls, and hold Pelosi accountable.

Dave Brat had a muddled message and resorted to accusing Spanberger of assisting high school terrorists. Even when he didn’t need to, he thought it would be a great idea to bring white nationist aficionado Steve Bannon into the suburbs.

The Darling of the Tea Party was voted out of office on Election Day 2018. The suburbs broke for Spanberger, just like the suburbs all over the nation broke blue. Chesterfield went for her by nearly 10,000 votes, Henrico a little more than that. Brat and the GOP only spoke to and counted on rural voters.

During her time in office, Spanberger voted “no” on Pelosi as promised. She has given plenty of town halls. She even bucked party and demanded the resignation of Lt. Governor Fairfax and Governor Ralph Northam.

Spanberger is walking the tightrope on impeachment right now, but that won’t be the big deal her Republican challengers are hoping it will be. Already, I am seeing the candidates trying to tie her to the radical Squad, anit-Trump fever, and trying to paint her as a socialist.

Is this the best the GOP can do? This is lazy, it’s been done, and just won’t play. Lee Carter, the Uber driver and Twitter troll moonlighting as a Delegate, is a socialist.

Abigail Spanberger is not Lee Carter. She is a moderate, if anything, and a patriot and is a testament to the fact that Freedom Caucus obstructionist shallowness does not play in the suburbs. To top this all off, she now has the benefit of being an incumbent.

GOP challengers, do not go dancing carelessly into this ring. You will be joining Apollo.

Michael Allers Jr. is an educator, politico, and artist. He lives in Herndon.

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