Army Veteran, Figure in Trump Impeachment Inquiry Will Vie For Key House Seat

Virginia’s 7th Congressional District is a competitive seat left open by Democratic Rep. Abigail Spanberger.
Army Veteran, Figure in Trump Impeachment Inquiry Will Vie For Key House Seat
Army veteran Derrick Anderson (C), the Republican nominee for Virginia's 7th congressional district, at his watch party in Fredericksburg, Va., on June 18, 2024. (Terri Wu/The Epoch Times)
Terri Wu
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FREDERICKSBURG, Va.—An Army veteran and a key figure in President Donald Trump’s first impeachment will vie for a Virginia congressional seat in November that may decide the next House majority.

On June 18, the 39-year-old Army veteran Derrick Anderson and the 48-year-old Yevgeny “Eugene” Vindman, a former ethics lawyer at the National Security Council, emerged as winners in their respective primaries for the 7th Congressional District.

They will be competing for an open seat left open by Rep. Abigail Spanberger (D-Va.), the incumbent, who is leaving the House to run for Virginia governorship.

The 7th congressional district, a crucial battleground and one of the most diverse districts in the Commonwealth after a redistricting in 2021, stretches from northern to central Virginia and spans over 10 counties and Fredericksburg, an independent city.

Ms. Spanberger’s first-term victory of less than two points in 2018 in the old 7th district ended a half-century Republican streak. Two years later, she defended her seat by less than two points again. She won her third term in the new 7th district by less than five points in 2022.

Vindman Win

Mr. Vindman, in his victory statement, said. “The stakes of this election couldn’t be higher.”

“The passion behind my campaign comes from voters wanting integrity, moderation, and professionalism in a government that works for them; and our grass-roots movement is coming for the extreme MAGA agenda,” he added.

Mr. Vindman defeated six other Democratic candidates thanks in part to his the notoriety from his role in then-President Donald Trump’s first impeachment.

Alex Vindman and Eugene Vindman (R) stand outside the U.S. Captiol on March 13, 2024. (Tasos Katopodis/Getty Images for VoteVets)
Alex Vindman and Eugene Vindman (R) stand outside the U.S. Captiol on March 13, 2024. (Tasos Katopodis/Getty Images for VoteVets)

Mr. Vindman and his twin brother Alexander Vindman reported that the president had pressed Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelenskyy to investigate Democrat Joe Biden during a call in July 2019, which led to the first impeachment inquiry. The GOP-controlled Senate later acquitted President Trump after the House voted to impeach him along partisan lines. The Vindman brothers later lost their jobs at the White House.

Mr. Vindman’s foremost message is the alleged threat to democracy posed by former President Trump, along with women’s access to abortion and gun safety.

Sally Haskovec outside Prince William County's Henderson Elementary School in Montclair, Va., on June 18, 2024. (Terri Wu/The Epoch Times)
Sally Haskovec outside Prince William County's Henderson Elementary School in Montclair, Va., on June 18, 2024. (Terri Wu/The Epoch Times)

Sally Haskovec, a 58-year-old pharmacist in Prince William County, voted for Mr. Vindman because of his role in former President Trump’s impeachment.

She doesn’t mind that Mr. Vindman hasn’t won any local elections. “I don’t put any weight to that,” she told The Epoch Times. “I think he’s going to do a good job. I think he’s an honest man who can, really will be able to beat the Republican.”

Mr. Vindman also significantly outraised his competitors, taking in $5 million as of May 24, according to the Virginia Public Access Project (VPAP), a Richmond-based watchdog.

The rest of the field included four women who have won local elections. Del. Briana Sewell and former Del. Elizabeth Guzman have each won Virginia House races; Margaret Angela Franklin and Andrea Bailey are both second-term board of supervisors in Prince William County, which holds one-third of the 7th district’s registered voters.

The runner-up, former Del. Elizabeth Guzman who trailed Mr. Vindman by over 30 points, said she would support any Democratic primary winner because “there is so much at stake.”

She’s confident that Democrats will keep the 7th district. “The Republican leadership in the House has not shown that they can govern, get their caucus together, and be on the same page,” she told The Epoch Times earlier on June 18.

“We are going to make the case that we are the party that is going to fight for working people, women’s reproductive rights, and common sense can reform, and I don’t think that Republicans could compete with us on that.”

Samuel Chisolm Jr., the Prince William County Democrats chair, is proud that his party has a slew of diverse candidates. He said the primary would be a good test for the Democratic nominee, and he expects all the six candidates who lose to “go someplace, lick your wounds, and in three to four days, back online, ready to go.”

Army veteran Derrick Anderson (C), the Republican nominee for Virginia's 7th congressional district, at his watch party in Fredericksburg, Va., on June 18, 2024. (Terri Wu/The Epoch Times)
Army veteran Derrick Anderson (C), the Republican nominee for Virginia's 7th congressional district, at his watch party in Fredericksburg, Va., on June 18, 2024. (Terri Wu/The Epoch Times)

Anderson Victory

The Republican win by Mr. Anderson, a candidate personally recruited by former House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) and formally endorsed by current House Speaker Mike Johnson (R-La.), proved the power of establishment backing.

His main opponent, Cameron Hamilton, a Navy SEAL veteran and a division director at Homeland Security, received endorsements from Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) and Freedom Caucus Chair Rep. Bob Good (R-Va.), who himself faces a stiff primary challenge from a Trump-backed state legislature in a race that has yet to be called.

Mr. Anderson thanked his volunteers, staff, and the House leadership support during his victory speech.

He cast his Democratic opponent as a candidate running on “revenge” against former President Trump and Republicans.

“I choose a different path. I choose a path that takes Americans back to being the greatest country the world has ever known,” Mr. Anderson said.

Prince William County Republican Committee chair Jacob Alderman told The Epoch Times the 7th district is known its diversity of voters. Just two years ago, Mr. Alderman said, Mr. Anderson was a “dark horse” who came second in the primary race.

Mr. Alderman, whose county splits between the 7th and the 10th congressional districts, doesn’t think the Republican candidates have fundamental policy disagreements but more nuanced differences in campaign tactics and strategy.

“How are we going to communicate that message to voters most effectively, because obviously the electorate in November is different than a primary electorate,” he said.

Terri Wu is a Washington-based freelance reporter for The Epoch Times covering education and China-related issues. Send tips to [email protected].