(CNS) – Newly-reelected Virginia Rep. Abigail Spanberger lashed out at the progressive wing of the House Democratic Caucus this afternoon on a conference call with House Democrats leaked to the news media, according to multiple sources.
Spanberger, a moderate who narrowly defeated Republican challenger Nick Freitas, said: “Don’t say socialism. Don’t say defund the police when that’s not what we mean,” citing attack ads launched against many vulnerable House Democrats.
Spanberger pulled ahead Wednesday afternoon in what had been a too-close-to-call congressional race against Del. Nick Freitas, R-Culpeper, after Spotsylvania County reported its absentee ballot numbers and Henrico County updated its absentee totals.
With the new numbers in, Spanberger was leading Freitas by 5,134 votes, according to unofficial results on the state elections website. The results had shown Spanberger trailing Freitas since polls closed Tuesday. The apparent win prevented Democrats, who had a disappointing showing in congressional and statehouse races across the nation Tuesday, from losing a seat they flipped two years ago.
Spanberger called the election a “failure” because House Democrats “lost incredible members of Congress.”
Spanberger’s comments come in the wake of a difficult election for House Democrats, who have lost six seats so far, despite claims by both House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and DCCC Chair Rep. Cheri Bustos that Democrats would expand their majority.
Spanberger said that the Democrats would get torn apart in midterm elections in 2022 if they campaigned with the same national strategy.
Pelosi disagreed with Spanberger on the call and said that Democrats held onto the House and are likely to win the White House once all of the votes are counted.
Congressional Progressive Caucus Co-chair Rep. Pramila Jayapal of Washington defended the progressive base of the Democratic Party, saying, “Our base is turning out to help save this country.” She agreed with Pelosi that Democrats achieved their top priority of the election by taking the presidency back from Donald Trump.
This disarray within the House Democratic Caucus will likely persist into the 2022 primaries. Progressive Democrats managed to primary several Democratic incumbents this year, including influential Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Eliot Engel.
Spanberger then criticized Capitol Hill journalists who were live-reporting on the call.
Rep. Hakeem Jeffries of New York reminded members on the call to stop leaking to reporters, though reporting on the call continued until it concluded.