Crystal Vanuch is running for the GOP nomination in Virginia’s 7th Congressional District, and wants to bring a focus on six issues: the economy and energy independence; border security; constitutional protections in the wake of COVID-19 mandates; public safety; transportation; and veterans’ issues.
“As soon as I get to Congress, I’m going to be pushing forward specific things to address the economy,” Vanuch told The Virginia Star. “So from a budget perspective, and an American policy perspective, the number one thing I want to do is deregulate. The Biden administration signed executive orders to increase regulation and undid a lot of the Trump-era regulations that loosened up the economy.”
Her approach to economic issues includes solving supply chain problems, bringing manufacturing back to the U.S., “stopping reckless spending”; and supporting energy independence. On the border, she wants to support keeping Title 42 in place, and improving Customs and Border Patrol resources, continue the remain-in-Mexico policy, and revoke the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services asylum-without-court policy. She wants to see tax deductions for law enforcement, and committed to opposing “unfunded mandates that talk about data collection.”
Vanuch wants to support state and local control over COVID-19 policy.
“So what I was disappointed with is congressional individuals not pushing back to the CDC and other federal agencies that were exhibiting overreach,” she said.
She also wants to address transportation problems in the region, and highlighted her experience getting funding for the issue in Stafford County. She said VA-07 includes “the absolute worst stretch of I-95 in the country.”
Her husband is a veteran who served in the Marine Corps, and Vanuch wants to improve access to health care for veterans by cutting “burdensome regulations and requirements” on seeking access outside of the VA.
Growing up, Vanuch’s father was a Prince William County police officer, but her family lived in Stafford County so they could afford to live on her father’s income. Vanuch said that explains both her desire to reduce costs for law enforcement and her ties to VA-07. She owns a healthcare consulting business. On the Stafford County board, she said she’s worked on land preservation and limiting residential development. She also touts her vote against Critical Race Theory-related spending in schools and her vote for pay increases for first responders.
Vanuch was relatively late to announce her candidacy for the GOP nomination, although she said she was the first to turn in all the necessary paperwork.
State Senator Bryce Reeves (R-Spotsylvania) is well known locally and statewide, and is considered to be the front runner, but Prince William County Supervisor Yesli Vega is well known locally, and veteran Derrick Anderson is leading in recent fundraising reports. Anderson has raised $521,022, Reeves has raised $519,237, and Vega has raised $356,810.
Vanuch’s gained relevance as a candidate after those reports with $483,589 raised – but $400,000 is a loan from herself. That’s not necessarily a bad sign – Governor Glenn Youngkin loaned himself $20 million during his successful campaign.
Vanuch said her loan was necessary due to her late entry into the race, but Vanuch said that the loan comes with an advantage. U.S. campaign finance laws limit the amount donors can give per election, but primaries and the general are considered separate elections. That means donors can spend more per candidate, but that money must be split between the two elections.
Vanuch can focus all of her self-loan money in either the primary or the general election.
“My funds that I put in have a strategic advantage over everybody else because I can deploy those resources whenever I need it,” she said.
Reeves is a veteran and former law enforcement officer; Vega is a former law enforcement officer, and Anderson is a veteran. All four candidates tout GOP issues such as the economy, border security, and supporting law enforcement.
The Virginia Star’s publisher, John Fredericks, has asked the four candidates if they would support House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA-23) for leadership or Speaker of the House. In interviews on The John Fredericks Show only Vega and Reeves have said they would oppose McCarthy.
Vanuch highlighted her ties to the district, and differentiated herself from Vega, Anderson, and Reeves.
“No one else was born and raised here who has an actual conservative voting record. So I am the only elected official who was born and raised and still lives in this district,” she told The Virginia Star. “I have a record of fighting for parents, you know with my votes on Critical Race Theory and helping assist in the mask mandates.”
“I can’t speak to the other folks’ records, especially the ones who don’t have a record, but I can tell you that you know that I stand for public safety,” she said.
“I’ve actually led an entire county, I mean, that’s huge. It’s not just that I’ve represented a portion of a district of a county. I have led a county with bipartisan support,” she said.
Vanuch said that although the county board has three Republicans, two independents, and two Democrats, she was still voted to be the chairman of the board.
“So that speaks volumes for me being able to work across the aisle,” she said.
The GOP nominee will face Congressman Abigail Spanberger (D-VA-07) in the district, with new lines that possibly favor Democrats. Overall, it’s a swing district that voted for Governor Glenn Youngkin in 2021. Nationally, Republicans expect a voter backlash to President Joe Biden, which could power Republican wins in moderate races with Democratic incumbents. The Cook Political Report recently moved the VA-07 race to Toss-up, but German-owned Politico’s report Monday that the U.S. Supreme Court has drafted an opinion to overturn Roe v. Wade has led to speculation that abortion issues will drive up Democratic turnout, which could boost Democratic chances.
Before that report, among Virginia’s three competitive congressional races, several Republicans have told The Star that VA-02 should be a Republican win, with VA-07 being a toss-up, and VA-10 being a bit of a long shot.
Former CIA officer Spanberger has worked to position herself as a moderate, including high-profile criticism of her party for defund-the-police messaging. She has voted “present” instead of voting for Congresswoman Nancy Pelosi (D-CA-12) for speaker of the House. GOP candidates including Vanuch have highlighted that Spanberger votes with Pelosi most of the time.
“She is no moderate,” Vanuch said. “when our law enforcement was going through the worst two years that they have gone through in decades, she was nowhere to be seen. She wasn’t criticizing the defund-the-police then. It’s only now when she’s up for re-election that she wants to go and try to pretend like she likes law enforcement.”
“I was out there with them when it wasn’t popular supporting our law enforcement officers and I will hold her accountable on her voting record and every single vote that she’s taken,” Vanuch said.
“I was actually born on Election Day in 1983, and this November is my birthday. So I really feel like I was born to do this, for this moment in time. I was born to get rid of Nancy Pelosi, Abigail Spanberger, and flip the House of Representatives to Republican control.”
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