Three additional candidates announced their run for Congress in the recently, and all of them are military veterans. Former Alabama congressional candidate John Castorani, newcomer Derrick Anderson, and State Senator Bryce Reeves (R-Spotsylvania) each announced their runs for the 7th Congressional District seat against incumbent Abigail Spanberger (D-VA-07).

John Castorani is a former Army special operations soldier. Castorani deployed multiple times to the Middle East, where he worked in Army intelligence. Castorani continued his service as an intelligence officer after his military career. On his campaign site, he lists his support for border security, the sanctity of human life, and gun rights as his priorities.

The former Special Ops soldier was a candidate in Alabama’s First Congressional District in 2020, where he came in last in the Republican primary. Castorani, who was born in Virginia, has since moved back to the Commonwealth to attempt a second Congressional run. He resides in Orange, Virginia with his family.

Political newcomer Derrick Anderson announced his campaign for Congress recently. Anderson is a former US Army Ranger who grew up in Spotsylvania County. After washing dishes in his mom’s restaurant in high school, he joined the Virginia Tech Corps of Cadets. After earning his degree at the oldest of the two land-grant universities to have a military academy, Anderson was commissioned as an Army Infantry Officer. He then went to Ranger School, fighting in some of the toughest points of the Iraq War Surge. He later became a Green Beret. After his military service, Anderson went to Law School at Georgetown and worked in the Trump Administration’s Office of National Drug Control Policy.

Anderson said in his announcement video that he is running because of the Biden Administration allowing Afghanistan to fall to the Taliban. Angered by the loss of his fellow Green Berets, Anderson says Biden “squandered their sacrifice” and that “silence is no longer an option.” The Hokie graduate says he will “put America First,” by supporting the Second Amendment, fighting against socialist policies, and borrows Republican nominee for Governor Glenn Youngkin’s line about teaching children “how to think, not what to think.” Anderson lives in Spotsylvania County with his Dalmation, Ranger, and enjoys Virginia Tech Hokie football.

The Virginia Star reached out to Anderson for comment about his newly announced congressional campaign.  The Virginia Tech graduate said, “Though I no longer wear a United States Army uniform, it does not mean I can no longer serve this nation.  I pledge to be the representative the people of Virginia’s 7th District deserve and are owed.  We cannot continue to let the extreme agenda of Democrats in Washington, whom Abigail Spanberger is in lockstep with, continue down this road of failed policies that eliminate jobs, make our communities unsafe, and our country weak on the national stage.”

Finally, Senator Bryce Reeves of Spotsylvania County announced his campaign for the 7th.  Reeves has been in the Virginia Senate for 9 years. He is a former Army Ranger who graduated from the second oldest land grant university military school, the Texas A&M Corps of Cadets. Reeves is a former Prince William County Police Officer. He was elected to the Senate in 2011 in a narrow defeat of longtime Democratic Senator Ed Houck. The former Narcotics Police Officer lost his 2017 GOP primary for Lieutenant Governor to State Senator Jill Holtzman Vogel.

In an interview with the Richmond Times-Dispatch, Reeves said it was “time to plant his flag.” He also said that he was the only longtime policymaker running and braggadociously stated that his opponents were, “wannabes.”

Reeves colleague and the Junior Senator from Chesterfield Amanda Chase weighed in early Friday morning on Facebook attacking Reeves. The Senator chastised Reeves for supporting her censure and his Chief of Staff starting the “UnFit Virginia PAC” that directly opposed the former gubernatorial candidate’s campaign for the Executive mansion. Chase said “My supporters will NOT be supporting Senator Bryce Reeves” and “keep your powder dry.”

These three candidates have already joined the crowded GOP primary. 2020 7th District candidate Tina Ramirez is making her second run posting huge numbers in fundraising. Former Bob McDonnell staffer and Richmond PR executive Taylor Keeney announced in August. Additionally, Guatam “Gary” Barve announced his run for the Richmond area seat.

Delegate John McGuire (R-Goochland) has not announced his run for the 7th, but all sources say his announcement is imminent. McGuire is a fixture on the 2021 campaign trail, being the first member of the General Assembly to endorse Republican gubernatorial nominee Glenn Youngkin during the convention. McGuire raised a six-figure cash haul in his latest fundraising period and quietly called donors asking for donations for his upcoming congressional run.  McGuire has been under fire for allegedly parking his iconic police car blue pickup truck across the street from his opponent’s house and taking his truck to the January 6th rally for President Trump. McGuire contends he only attended the rally by the White House and did not go to the Capitol Building.

The method of nomination nor the district lines have yet to be determined. The winner will be taking on Congresswoman Spanberger in the 2022 midterms.

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 Matt Colt Hall is a reporter for The Virginia Star and The Star News Network. Follow Matt on Twitter at @MattColtHall on Twitter. Send tips to [email protected].
Photo “Derrick Anderson” by Derrick Anderson. Photo “Bryan Stephens” by Bryan K Stephens. Photo “John Castorani” by The First. Background Photo “Virginia Capitol” by Anderskev. CC BY 3.0.