Nationally, Republicans are targeting Spanberger’s district, which voted for President Trump in 2016, and has historically been represented by Republicans, including former majority leader Eric Cantor.
The congresswoman, a former CIA officer, unseated Dave Brat in 2018 with help from suburban women voters disaffected by the Trump White House.
McGuire joins Andrew Knaggs, a former defense official in the Trump administration, and Tina Ramirez, who leads a nonprofit organization, in seeking the nomination. Craig Ennis, Peter Greenwald and Jason Roberge also filed the paperwork to run.
McGuire kicked off his campaign Monday by visiting all 10 counties in the district. He said he thinks Spanberger votes too often with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.).
“It’s a conservative district and Abigail Spanberger votes 95, 98 percent with Nancy Pelosi and AOC,” he said. “There’s no way we’re being properly represented.”
Spanberger is one of seven freshmen Democrats with national security backgrounds who co-authored an op-ed supporting an impeachment inquiry against Trump, which McGuire called “a political charade.”
McGuire earned national attention this year for helping a Vietnam veteran and constituent win approval from his homeowners association to fly an American flag on a 20-foot flagpole.
Born and raised in Henrico, McGuire lives in Goochland in the congressional district, which includes his House of Delegates district.
As a child, he spent time in foster care and went on to graduate from Henrico High School before joining the Navy.
He served as a SEAL for a decade before returning to Virginia, where he founded a fitness company called SEAL Team PT Inc., according to the bio on his website.
Virginia Democrats accused McGuire of using his seat in Richmond as a springboard to higher office.
“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,” Democratic Party spokesman Grant Fox said in a statement.
The GOP nomination will be decided by a party-run convention in the spring.