RICHMOND — A Republican state lawmaker from Goochland County announced Monday that he’s running for the nomination to challenge Virginia Rep. Abigail Spanberger, D-7th.
Del. John McGuire, a former Navy SEAL, was elected to the legislature in 2017 and re-elected this month in a safe Republican seat that includes Orange and Louisa counties.
McGuire called himself an “unapologetic conservative” in his statement and said Spanberger votes with a “radical” Democratic agenda in Washington.
“I was born in this district, raised in this district, and raised my family in this district. My 10 years service as a Navy SEAL taught me that everyone has value and we can achieve amazing results when we put our country first and do what we say we are going to do,” McGuire said in the statement.
“Central Virginia did not sign up to be part of Nancy Pelosi and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s vision for America — an America that would be unrecognizable in just a few short years. But that’s [what] we got in Abigail Spanberger. A reliable vote for the radical agenda of Washington Democrats.”
McGuire said he “won’t be afraid to stand with President Trump” and called the House Intelligence Committee’s impeachment inquiry “frivolous.”
McGuire runs an outdoor fitness company called SEAL Team PT.
He attacked Spanberger on Monday for a glossy, promotional mailer she sent to constituents at taxpayer expense, a congressional perk known as “franked mail.”
The mailer had photos of her and included statistics about how many letters, phone calls and emails her office had answered, how many events she attended in her district, and how many constituent concerns she resolved.
During her campaign, Spanberger said that as part of a good-government platform she would “stop the abuse of taxpayer-funded mail.”
“Too many Members of Congress send glossy, promotional mailers at taxpayers’ expense,” her campaign platform said. “This isn’t communication, this is campaigning and it is inappropriate. I commit to using correspondence to inform and engage, not campaign.”
Bettina Weiss, Spanberger’s campaign manager, said by email that the mailer explains how Spanberger’s congressional office can help them with requests of federal agencies.
“Rep. Spanberger remains opposed to using taxpayer funds for campaign-like activities, such as sending official mailers to promote partisan messaging as her predecessor did — and she looks forward to hearing directly from constituents through town halls, mobile office hours, and community events,” Weiss said by email.
Grant Fox, spokesman for the Democratic Party of Virginia, said in a statement that McGuire was cozy with the NRA, opposed the Equal Rights Amendment and Medicaid expansion in Virginia and used his position as delegate as a springboard to a run for Congress.
“John McGuire doesn’t care about representing his constituents because his mind has been on running for Congress ever since Dave Brat lost his seat,” Fox said in a statement.
McGuire joins a Republican field that already includes Tina Ramirez, the president of a nonprofit that promotes religious freedom in other countries. She lives in Chesterfield County.