Political newcomer who denounced Trump faces experienced foes in Democratic primary

WOODBRIDGE, Va. (AP) – Eugene Vindman never ran for office, and he is far from a household name, but his near-cult status among national Democratic activists as a figure in Donald Trump’s first impeachment has elevated him to the status of a candidate of prominent in a key Virginia congressional race.

Vindman’s ability to raise money outside the district gave him an advantage in the seven-person primary in Virginia’s 7th Congressional District, to the dismay of other candidates who paid their dues in a polling station. State or local before running for a seat in Congress.

“He doesn’t understand the community. He is not very infiltrated in the community. He didn’t get involved in the community as an advocate,” said Andrea Bailey, one of two Prince William County supervisors running in the race.

The outcome will have national implications in the battle for control of the U.S. House of Representatives. This is a district where Democratic incumbent Abigail Spanberger is giving up her seat to run for governor in 2025.

Vindman and his twin brother, Alex, were career military officers who gained fame and respect from Democrats for raising concerns about Trump’s 2019 call to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy in which Trump requested a investigating Biden and his son, Hunter.

Alex Vindman was listening to the call as a National Security Council official assigned to the White House when he was alarmed by what he heard. He contacted his brother, Eugene, who was an ethics attorney at the NSC at the time. Both Vindmans raised their concerns with their superiors, ultimately contributing to Trump’s impeachment.

Eugene Vindman said he viewed his congressional campaign as another avenue of public service after his military career. He wasn’t sure whether the recognition he’s enjoyed since impeachment would extend to politics, but said voters have accepted him so far.

“My theory was that people knew Alex and I for what we did. We are obviously identical twins, but they know there are two of us. And they recognized us. We were frequently stopped by people. And so I thought there might be some support. I didn’t know what the level of support would be,” he said.

The field includes four current and former elected officials from Prince William County, a northern Virginia suburb making up more than a third of the district that stretches south of Fredericksburg and west of Culpeper. All four helped Democrats take control of a county where Republicans were highly competitive.

Bailey and Margaret Franklin serve on the county Board of Supervisors and Briana Sewell serves in the House of Delegates. Elizabeth Guzman unseated a multi-term Republican incumbent in the House of Delegates. Two others, military veterans Carl Bedell and Clifford Heinzer, had not previously served in office.

As a general rule, candidates sought to distinguish themselves more on their experience…

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