Spanberger goes on to describe the 7th as an “unwinnable district,” noting that a Democrat hasn’t held the seat since 1968. As of midnight, Republican incumbent David Brat has not conceded the race. Halfway through her speech, Spanberger bends down to pick up her youngest daughter, who happily sits on her hip, alternating between smiling at the audience and resting her head on her mother’s shoulder.
Adela Parvaiz, a naturalized American citizen from Pakistan who lives in Henrico, says she’d never been politically active until the last two years. The morning after the 2016 presidential election, her then 8-year-old son asked her if their family would have to move back to Pakistan, an interaction she describes as heartbreaking. Spanberger, a good friends of hers, was one of the first to call to check in on her after President Donald Trump was elected.
“Trump’s hateful politics have made us so nervous about who we were. Were we Americans too? We felt loyal, we felt patriotic, we had the passports, but he made us feel like outsiders,” Parvaiz says. “And that’s precisely when Abigail called us.” Parvaiz was one of the first to discuss a potential campaign with Spanberger, and she says she’s on board since day one.
“I want you to know the Abigail that sits with me in my living room having a cup of coffee with me, because what she is on the inside she is on the outside,” Parvaiz says. “When she cries, she cries because she feels your pain. There is no hidden agenda with her.”
At a brief press conference after her speech, Spanberger answers questions about what’s next. She says her first priority is to restore people’s trust in elected officials, and she wants to address campaign finance reform right away.
When asked for comment on whether Brat concedes, Spanberger says he’s “welcome to make whatever decisions he chooses,” and that to her knowledge, her opponent had not yet reached out to her or her campaign.