Seventh Congressional District race projected to be very tight
CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (CBS19 NEWS) -- The person who takes the Seventh Congressional District seat could depend on the makeup of the district, which may change when a new map is completed very soon.
So far, eight Republicans are running for the seat, and just one Democrat: incumbent Abigail Spanberger.
"It's one of those races in Virginia that we're going to have our eye to," said J. Miles Coleman with the University of Virginia Center for Politics.
Coleman said it will be one of Virginia's two key races in the midterm election next year.
Republican enthusiasm is high in the state, especially after the GOP swept the ballot earlier this month. Governor-elect Glenn Youngkin carried Spanberger's district with 55 percent of the vote.
"I mean, do you know what that does for the energy of a party in a state where they have been locked out for a dozen years," asked Coleman.
The other factor that could make or break a party is redistricting. Congressional maps will be redrawn ahead of the midterm election.
"Basically as it's drawn, it's a district that went for Biden by a few points, but if it gets Charlottesville, that Seventh District could be a fairly Democratic-leaning district, that could make it hard for any Republican," Coleman said.
Even if the district doesn't change much, the race for the Seventh District could still be tight. President Joe Biden's low job approval ratings could give Republicans an advantage in swing districts.
Coleman said Spanberger should hope the red nominates a candidate that may not appeal to moderates.
"If [Spanberger] gets a district that's roughly similar to what she has now, I mean, if I were a Democrat, I'd be praying that the Republicans nominate Amanda Chase, and even then, it still could be a very competitive race," Coleman said.
The process to redraw the congressional maps has been slow, but there has been some progress made.
A few days ago, the Virginia Supreme Court unanimously approved two nominees for special master, who will assist in drawing new districts.
This occurred after the Redistricting Commission deadlocked.
The primary election is June 21, 2022.