A working mother of six from King George County won the Democratic congressional nomination Tuesday in the 1st District that includes Hanover County.

Vangie Williams, a strategic analyst for a federal contractor, defeated two military veterans — Edwin Santana of Stafford County and John Suddarth of Hanover — for the chance to take on U.S. Rep. Rob Wittman, R-Westmoreland County, in November. She got about 40 percent of the vote, followed by 33 percent for Santana and 27 percent for Suddarth, according to unofficial results from the Virginia Department of Elections.

Williams did not immediately return a phone call for comment.

The political newcomer faces an uphill battle against Wittman, a five-term incumbent who won his last election with about 60 percent of the vote.

Williams and her primary opponents expressed similar positions in favor of stricter gun laws and single-payer health insurance, also known as “Medicare for all.” And all of them said at a recent forum that Republican President Donald Trump should be impeached, though they did not make anti-Trump sentiment a centerpiece of their campaigns.

But Williams, who would be the first African-American to hold the seat, was the only candidate to propose a tax exemption for military veterans, enlisted service members, first responders and teachers. She wants to exempt the first $50,000 of their annual salaries from federal income tax, saying she would close several corporate tax loopholes to pay for the proposal.

Her primary opponents criticized the long-shot proposal, which they said would not pay for itself and result in higher deficits.

Williams also said her gender would be an advantage because women are more likely to vote for other women, regardless of political party.

In addition, she said her family’s past financial struggles give her a unique perspective. She and her husband filed for bankruptcy in 2010 after Williams said the couple spent their life savings paying off medical bills for a sick daughter. She said she was in between federal contractor jobs at the time and that filing for bankruptcy was the only option.

“Who better to fight for hard-working men and women … than someone like me that has gone through the same challenges and struggles,” she said in an interview last week.

Recommended for you

Commenting is limited to Times-Dispatch subscribers. To sign up, click here.
If you’re already a subscriber and need to activate your access or log in, click here.

(4) comments

Fred Demey

Notice the upbeat hyped up story on Spanberger winning her primary election, and how great it is that she will go on to challenge Dave Brat, and how as a woman and a Democrat, she has gained ground in Virginia, and the RTD editors and writers are just glowing over this win..........Now compare that to the downbeat, he is a "hater", and a nasty Conservative Republican who wants to run a vicious campaign of hate and vitriol against Krazy Kandy Kaine that the RTD Editors and writers are pushing in the article about Corey Stuart's win in the Republican primary. The RTD political hit team is lining up the lies, fraud and heavily biased attacks against Republicans, while at the same time, painting Democrats as the party of choice and pushing a very positive bias of their candidates.........The RTD is now going into full political mode, so we readers can be expecting months of bias lies and fraud from what should be an impartial, news reporting outlet, shameful.

Drake D Butler

The truth is the truth. The RTD can’t help it if the republicans nominated a documented nutburger as their candidate. It would be journalistically remiss if they tried to put lipstick on THAT pig.

E Marshall BUCKLES

"The political newcomer faces an uphill battle against Wittman, a five-term incumbent who won his last election with about 60 percent of the vote." I suspect that the outcome will be similar this time as well. I have no doubt that she is a nice person and capable yet she probably would have been better off running for local office and probably more effective in her locality. I plan to vote for the incumbent because I think that he has been serving our district well and I also do not want to trade someone with seniority in the US House (which is extremely important in Congress) for someone who would not have any seniority.

Drake D Butler

If seniority was your concern Eric Cantor would still be in office. He might even be speaker now.

Welcome to the discussion.

Please keep it clean, turn off CAPS LOCK and don't threaten anyone. Be truthful, nice and proactive. Comments cannot be edited or deleted once posted. To flag a comment to the page administrator, click “report” next to that comment.

You must be a digital subscriber to view this article.