RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - Congresswoman-elect Abigail Spanberger will become the first woman to ever represent Virginia’s 7th District in the U.S. House of Representatives. She’s also the first democrat to win the seat in 50 years.
Republican incumbent Dave Brat conceded the race Wednesday, acknowledging the numbers, with Spanberger holding a roughly 6,500 vote lead, were insurmountable.
Brat released a statement reading in part, "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. I am proud of what we did to get this economy moving again."
Brat also said he was humbled by the support he received over his four years in office.
Leading into the midterm elections, people talked about blue and red waves. One wave that was certainly apparent Tuesday night was a wave of women. Spanberger is one of 96 projected women to win House seats, according to CNN. That tops the prior record of 85 female representatives.
"We did it!” said Spanberger at the podium to her supporters, Tuesdsay night. "We focused on the needs of the people, the voters… and we brought respect and decency back to the political process."
Spanberger’s victory was boosted by hefty leads in both Chesterfield and Henrico. Analysts say women rallied to support her, like Kim Drew Wright with the group Liberal Women of Chesterfield County and Beyond.
“I think it’s fabulous,” said Drew Wright. “I think the more our legislature looks like the people they’re actually representing, the fairer our representation will be and the better off we’ll be as a country in the long run.”
The United States Congress is looking increasingly diverse. The House will also welcome its first Muslim and Native American women. The nation’s first openly gay governor was also voted in, in Colorado.
However, political analyst and VCU professor Dr. Ravi Perry points out that although the change is bringing about excitement, you still have to look at whether or not Congress- regardless of its makeup- is getting things done.
"We’ve seen this increasing trend of more different kinds of constituency being represented in Congress. Yet we have not seen, as a result of that trend, much difference in terms of the outcomes of what Congress is able to produce,” said Dr. Perry.
Perry noted Congress’s dismal approval rating of 11 percent, taking into account both sides of the aisle.