RICHMOND — Rep. Dave Brat (R-Va.), in a tough race with Democrat Abigail Spanberger, called off a rally planned for Thursday because of Hurricane Michael.

Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) was supposed to headline the event in Fredericksburg, but bad weather was expected to hamper his travel to the area, Brat’s campaign announced in an email to supporters Wednesday night.

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“Due to Hurricane Michael surging up the coast and promising strong winds and heavy thunderstorms in Fredericksburg tomorrow afternoon, we regret that we have to cancel our planned rally with Senator Rand Paul,” the email said.

The rally had not been advertised to the media or general public, but the email indicated that many supporters had been aware of it and intending to go.

“Response to this event has been tremendous and we have tried to work around the weather so that you could come and meet and hear one of our greatest champions of freedom and liberty!” the email said. “However, our special guest was planning to travel by air to be with us and we did not want to put Senator Paul and his crew into a potentially dangerous situation.”

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Brat, a former Randolph-Macon College economics professor seeking his third term in the House, and Spanberger, a former CIA operative, are competing in Virginia’s 7th Congressional District.

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The central Virginia district, made up of Richmond suburbs and rural areas, is a longtime GOP stronghold that may be in Democrats’ reach in the Trump era. Brat won the seat four years ago after pulling off a stunning primary upset over Rep. Eric Cantor, then the House majority leader. The Cook Political Report classifies the race as a toss-up.