Abigail Spanberger, a Democratic member of the House of Representatives from Virginia, declared last week that she is running for the governorship of the state in 2025, when the term of current governor, Republican Glenn Youngkin expires. She will vacate her House seat after serving three terms.
In a public statement announcing her candidacy, she highlighted her right-wing record and past history as a state operative, declaring, “As a former CIA case officer, former federal law enforcement officer, and current Member of Congress, I have always believed in the value of public service.”
Spanberger’s rising political career is bound up with her unwavering loyalty to the military intelligence apparatus. While the majority of workers and young people are moving to the left in opposition to capitalism and militarism, the Democrats are putting forth the most right-wing defenders of the state for office.
For most of her adult life, she served as an intelligence officer for the CIA, an institution hated by the world’s population for overthrowing governments, fostering military dictators and despots, and carrying out assassinations and torture, and as a federal agent for the US Postal Service.
In 2018 the WSWS uncovered and ran numerous analyses and political profiles on the coordinated strategy of the Democrats to run former military intelligence operatives to demonstrate that it was more committed than the Republicans to defending the interests of the American financial aristocracy at home and abroad.
Spanberger’s political trajectory mirrors many rising Democratic political operatives such as Elissa Slotkin, a House member from Michigan, who is running for a vacant Senate seat. Slotkin went from the CIA to the National Security Council and then the Pentagon before entering electoral politics.
In terms of her own political career, Spanberger believes the time is ripe for her rise through the ranks of the capitalist Democratic Party and for her own personal enrichment. Last year, she beat out four-term representative Matt Cartwright from Pennsylvania to claim a leadership position.
Deeply unpopular Republican governor Youngkin is barred by Virginia law from running for a second consecutive term. In the midterm elections, Democrats took control of both state chambers, mainly due to voter hostility to the Republicans’ unwavering assault on social and democratic rights, such as abortion.
In her announcement video, Spanberger mouthed empty platitudes about rising inflation, the high cost of living, and drug company price-gouging, but put forth no plan of action to tackle these problems because she and the Democratic Party as a whole offer no solution. She also postured demagogically about “stopping” MAGA extremists allied with ex-president Donald Trump.
Her speech was revealing for what it did not mention. She was silent on the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. She had previously criticized Biden’s so-called “leftist” spending during the height of the health crisis and railed against the pretended left wing of the congressional Democrats, figures like Bernie Sanders and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, saying Democrats should never again say the word “socialist.”
Also completely absent from her speech was any mention of the ongoing US-backed war in Ukraine or Israel’s genocidal assault on the Palestinians. Nor did she mention the role that bank bailouts and massive military spending have played in rising inflation, the threat of dictatorship, or the climate crisis.
She also ignored the constant attacks on workers’ living standards in Virginia. In 2021, the United Auto Workers bureaucracy enforced a pro-company agreement on autoworkers in Dublin, Virginia at the Volvo-owned New River Valley plant. Workers rejected the same contract multiple times before it was pushed through against their will.
As in 2018, the mainstream media and Democratic Party will attempt to use identity politics to portray Spanberger as a left-wing or vaguely progressive politician, simply because of her gender. She could become the first female governor in the state’s history. Her history as a CIA agent and right-wing record in Congress belie such pretensions.
During her years in Congress, Spanberger has been an unrelenting advocate of the state’s repressive apparatus, using her background to push for stronger border security measures, including surveillance and enlisting more border agents to terrorize and kill immigrants.
When Minnesota police officers murdered George Floyd in broad daylight, sparking calls for defunding police departments across the United States, Spanberger launched a full-throated tirade against anti-police brutality protesters and policies, blaming them for costing the Democrats many congressional seats in the 2020 election. She further demanded that Democrats drop any demand to defund the police, which, in any event was never actually advocated by any leaders of the Democratic Party.
On foreign policy, she is a fervent supporter of American imperialism’s pursuit of global hegemony, finding a fitting home on the House Intelligence Committee.
At the beginning of 2024, she signed a bipartisan public letter advocating that President Biden send F-16 jets and long-range missiles to the fascist-infested and corrupt Ukrainian regime to support the war against Russia.
She also signed a resolution reaffirming America’s unconditional support for Israel’s genocidal war against the Palestinian people, saying ,“I know that the United States must continue to stand by our ally and provide Israel with the intelligence, defense and humanitarian assistance it needs to secure its borders and neutralize the Hamas terrorists.”
While not voting yes on the motion sponsored by fascist Republican Marjorie Taylor Greene to censure Rashida Tlaib’s political speech condemning Israel’s genocide, Spanberger voted present, confirming her faithful support for the historic crimes in Gaza being committed and encouraged by the Biden administration and the entire political establishment.
The state and national Democratic Party leadership have generally rallied to Spanberger’s campaign, although it may cause the loss of the House seat in a district that has been closely contested in each of the past three elections. After redistricting, it stretches from the Richmond suburbs to the outer suburbs of Washington D.C., including a considerable amount of rural and small-town territory in between.
In an effort to maintain the CIA Democrat hold on the seat, at least one military intelligence candidate has jumped into the race to succeed Spanberger. Eugene Vindman, brother of Alexander Vindman, the former National Security Council staffer fired by Donald Trump after he testified against him in the first impeachment investigation, has announced his candidacy. Both Vindmans are retired military officers who were born in Ukraine and are fervent supporters of the US-NATO proxy war against Russia.