CHESTERFIELD COUNTY, Va. -- Abigail Spanberger is claiming victory in the tight race for the 7th Congressional House seat, one of the most competitive races in Central Virginia.
The Democratic incumbent received 50.49% of the vote (227,540) to 49.35%% (222,406) for Freitas with 100% of the expected vote reporting, according to the Virginia Public Access Project (VPAP).
"Tonight, the Seventh District affirmed its commitment to leadership in Congress that puts Central Virginia first, works for everyone, and focuses on expanding opportunity for the next generation of Virginians," said Spanberger. "Serving the Seventh District in Congress has been my honor, and I look forward to continuing our work to strengthen and protect our communities."
With a win, Spanberger would capture her second term in Congress, after becoming the first Democrat to win Virginia’s 7th since the late 1960’s.
For Freitas, he ended his election night party up more than 40,000 votes, but Henrico and Chesterfield, the district’s largest population bases, had not reported absentee ballots yet.
When those numbers were published Wednesday morning, the race tightened.
Freitas held an advantage that fluctuated throughout Wednesday and led in the unofficial results by 1,300 votes around 5 p.m. However, thousands of absentee ballots in Henrico and Spotsylvania County had not been reported yet.
The Virginia Public Access Project reported 14,000 absentee ballots in Henrico were mistaken labeled as “provisional ballots” on election night and not included in the county’s initial absentee vote totals. Spotsylvania County election officials did not publish their absentee numbers until Wednesday evening after an election night technical issue with a voting machine at their satellite voting location, the Spotsylvania General Registrar told CBS 6.
Once both of those early vote totals were added to the unofficial count, Spanberger took the lead and declared victory.
"We still have a lot of work to do. We have a lot of work to do to get this virus under control. We have a lot of work to do to be able to get our communities and our economies and our schools back open. And I am happy to be returning to congress to be focused on that primary task," Spanberger said.
CBS 6 has reached out to Henrico General Registrar for information on the issue but has not yet heard back.
Freitas campaign said earlier in the day their team was watching the canvassing of the vote across all ten counties in the district and felt confident that they would add to their totals. Freitas also issued a statement saying that he is waiting until the canvass officially concludes on Friday.
Important update on where we stand in Virginia's 7th District. pic.twitter.com/fokuzuD60z— Nick Freitas (@NickForVA) November 5, 2020
Virginias 7th Congressional district includes voters in Chesterfield, Henrico, Spotsylvania, Culpeper, Louisa, Orange, Powhatan, Goochland, Amelia, and Nottoway.
During her time in office, Spanberger has promoted her efforts to work across the aisle, including efforts to lower prescription drug prices and expand broadband access to rural portions of the district.
A former CIA officer, Spanberger voted to impeach President Trump during the Ukraine scandal last year, saying the President abused his power and threatened national security.
Given the voting history of Virginia’s 7th District, the Cook Political Report listed the race as a tossup, with Spanberger having a slight edge as the incumbent.