RICHMOND — Republican Rep. Dave Brat conceded his loss to Democrat Abigail Spanberger shortly after noon Wednesday, issuing a statement that did not acknowledge his opponent and took a swipe at the media.
“The voters of the 7th District came out in record numbers for a mid-term election yesterday,” he said in a written statement. “While the registrars across the district are still reviewing the votes, it is looking like the voters have spoken in this race.”
Brat was narrowly trailing in the polls on election night. Spanberger claimed victory, but Brat did not appear at his own campaign party. Instead, a senior campaign official spoke, saying that the campaign planned to continue fighting as local registrars conducted their canvass.
But apparently, that fight ended sometime Wednesday, after he called Spanberger to concede, Spanberger campaign spokesman Justin Jones said.
Brat first won the seat four years ago after defeating then-Majority Leader Eric Cantor, a stunning upset of an establishment figure that presaged the rise of Donald Trump. He cruised to a 15-point victory in Virginia’s 7th District two years later.
But he faced a tough opponent in Spanberger, a former CIA agent whose national security credentials and moderate positioning appealed to suburban voters turned off by Trump.
In his written statement, Brat blamed political advertising and the media.
“In the face of millions and millions of dollars of money from around this country that poured into Virginia to attack my record, I stayed true to my principles and did what I told the voters I would do,” he wrote. “I am proud of what we did to get this economy moving again. Virginians have more money in their pockets and more job opportunities at higher wages. I am also proud of my work to stop online human trafficking and to fight back against the [opioid] epidemic. We are also rebuilding our military, giving them a much needed raise, and have taken care of our veterans by improving their health care system. Despite the fact the media would not report it, this is a record of results, not resistance.
“I want to thank the thousands and thousands of volunteers and donors who worked tirelessly and gave sacrificially to support the principles of the Virginia Republican creed and the conservative values of our founders like James Madison. We may not have won this election, but I am truly humbled by all of the support I have received over the past four years from so many Virginians. Laura, Jonathan, Sophia and I cannot thank you enough for all your hard work, your prayers and your friendship.”