EXCLUSIVE: A former U.S. Army Special Forces Green Beret and combat veteran announced Monday he was joining the race to try and flip what could be one of 2024’s most competitive congressional seats from the Democrats.
Republican Derrick Anderson, who served six tours of duty throughout the Middle East as part of the Global War on Terror, told Fox News Digital he could “no longer remain silent on the sidelines.” Anderson added he is running to bring leadership to Virginia’s 7th Congressional District, which he argues is lacking under Democrat Rep. Abigail Spanberger.
“I have spent my life serving this country overseas, including combat tours in Afghanistan and Iraq. Watching President Biden and Washington Democrats squander 22 years of sacrifices made by our service members and their families was the final straw for me,” Anderson said.
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“President Biden and career politicians are putting politics and their own gains in front of fighting for what’s best for the American people: safer streets, better paying jobs and cheaper goods, a secure border and an education system that teaches our children how to think, not what to think,” he said.
Anderson served in the Army from 2006 to 2014 before his first run for Congress in 2022. That year he narrowly lost the Republican primary to former congressional candidate Yesli Vega. Spanberger, a former CIA operative, went on to defeat Vega in the general election by just under 5%, securing her third term after she was first elected in the 2018 midterms.
According to Politico, Spanberger has said she will run for governor of Virginia in 2025 and will forego running for a fourth term in Congress next year.
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Virginia’s 7th Congressional District has remained one of the Republican Party’s top targets to flip from the Democrats and is, once again, considered a potential swing district going into the 2024 elections. A potential absence of Spanberger on the ballot could make that more obtainable and Anderson feels he is the candidate who can finally move Republicans across the finish line.
“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,” he told Fox. “I will run a tireless, heartfelt and genuine campaign the people of the 7th district, the place that raised me, can be proud of.”
In the video Anderson released as part of his campaign launch, he touts his childhood mopping floors and washing dishes in his mother’s local Spotsylvania County restaurant before going on to Virginia Tech on an Army Reserve Officers’ Training Corps scholarship, where he became the first person in his family to graduate from college.
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“I’m running for Congress to fight for you, and to serve the country I love once again,” he says, before listing the policies he would prioritize as the district’s representative.
Anderson is now one of five candidates vying for the Republican nomination for the district.
Republicans currently hold a slim five-seat majority in the House of Representatives and are hoping to build on that next year, partly by capitalizing on the unpopularity of President Biden. The party gained control of the chamber following the 2022 midterm elections, but performed well below expectations.
Live Vote Count: House Stopgap Measure as Shutdown Looms
|Answer||Democrats||Republicans||Total||Bar chart of total votes|
After a stopgap spending measure failed on Friday in the House of Representatives, Speaker Kevin McCarthy raced to push forward a measure on Saturday that would keep the government funded for 45 days. Under the special rules of this vote, two-thirds of those present — including a significant number of Democrats — will have to vote in favor for the measure to pass. See how each member of the House is voting.
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Georgia indictment: First Trump co-defendant pleads guilty in Fulton County court
Scott Hall, an Atlanta bail bondsman who is one of former President Donald Trump’s 18 co-defendants in the Georgia 2020 election interference case, pleaded guilty Friday.
He is the first defendant to take a plea deal.
Hall, 59, pleaded guilty to misdemeanor charges of conspiracy to commit intentional interference with performing election duties. Prosecutors had accused him of trying to steal sensitive information from Coffee County, Georgia. He pled down from felony charges of racketeering and six conspiracy counts.
Under the agreement reached with prosecutors, Hall will receive five years probation and must testify in further proceedings. He was given a $5,000 fine, ordered to complete 200 hours of community service and is prohibited from administering elections again.
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Hall must also write a letter of apology to the citizens of the state of Georgia and is under a gag order prohibiting him from speaking to the press.
He is a minor figure in the grand plot that District Attorney Fani Willis alleges Trump orchestrated to overturn Democrat Joe Biden’s victory and stay in power. Still, the plea deal is a win for Willis as she advances her racketeering case against Trump.
Hall’s attorney Jeff Weiner, who was in court with him Friday, said that under the deal, his client’s record will be wiped clean after he completes probation. The agreement allows Hall to avoid the stress of “living under a serious felony indictment” without knowing when he might go to trial, the attorney said.
“The nightmare is over for my client,” Weiner told Fox News Digital, adding that the plea agreement is an “excellent resolution” to Hall’s case.
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Weiner said that his client was a “concerned citizen” who, like millions of Americans, believed Trump’s claims that the 2020 election was stolen and took it upon himself to investigate. Hall never worked for Trump either formally or informally and does not know much about the larger alleged conspiracy, the attorney said.
Weiner does not know if Hall will be called to testify against Trump or any of the other defendants, but said his client is “not an informant, not a snitch.”
The 98-page Fulton County indictment describes Hall as an associate of longtime Trump adviser David Bossie.
Hall is accused of conspiring to unlawfully access voter data and ballot counting machines at the Coffee County Election office on January 7, 2021. Trump allies had sought access to voting systems to support their claims that voting systems had been tampered with to steal the election.
Authorities say that Hall and co-defendants conspired to allow others to “unlawfully access secure voting equipment and voter data.” This included ballot images, voting equipment software and personal vote information that was later made available to people in other states, according to the indictment.
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The District Attorney’s office has not commented on the plea deal.
Trump spokesman Steven Cheung did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
At another hearing Friday, prosecutor Nathan Wade revealed that the district attorney’s office planned to offer plea deals to lawyers Sidney Powell and Kenneth Chesebro. The pair are due to be tried in court on October 23, even though their lawyers have argued that they do not know each other and are not accused of participating in the same acts, the Associated Press reported.
Powell faces charges related to a breach of election equipment in rural Coffee County. She allegedly hired a computer forensics team that copied data and software from the election equipment without authorization.
Weiner said that Hall went to Coffee County as an observer, and that he encouraged the purported “voting machine experts” brought there by Powell to investigate the voting machines. He denied that Hall did anything illegal.
Chesebro was indicted in connection to a plan to have 16 Georgia Republicans falsely declare themselves “duly elected and qualified” electors and name Trump the winner of the state’s 2020 presidential election.
Finally, on Friday, U.S. District Judge Steve Jones rejected requests by four other defendants, including former Justice Department official Jeffrey Clark, to move the charges against them from state court to federal court.
Clark is charged with one count of racketeering and one count of criminal attempt to commit false statements.
Fox News’ Timothy H.J. Nerozzi and The Associated Press contributed to this report.
How Dianne Feinstein helped preserve the California desert
Federal offices were flooded with applications to place solar mirrors across the arid flatlands of southeastern California, but Sen. Dianne Feinstein was not going to let that stop her from protecting the heart of the Mojave Desert from development.
Some of those projects were headed toward fruition when Feinstein in 2009 announced plans to introduce bills to establish national monuments on roughly 1 million acres of public lands that are home to bighorn sheep, desert tortoises, extinct volcanoes, sand dunes and ancient petroglyphs.
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Her campaign to create the monuments amid the unfolding desert land rush turned out to be a lengthy one, held up for years by conflicts among environmentalists, off-roaders, hunters and renewable energy interests.
Ultimately, she prevailed. President Obama in 2016 designated three new national monuments in the California desert, expanding protection to 1.8 million acres of Mojave Desert landscape.
“Sen. Feinstein had a passion for the Mojave Desert — and everything in it,” said David Myers, president of the Wildlands Conservancy and a longtime friend of Feinstein, who died on Friday. “It stirred her soul: the wildlife, the sand dunes, the wind, the people who worked the land — the old California romance with backcountry roads of adventure and enchantment.”
“I visited the Mojave several times with Sen. Feinstein and her husband,” he recalled. “She was comfortable there. Wore no makeup. Absorbed the wonders of it all.
“She was a defender of the California desert like no other.”
Obama’s designation of the monuments was requested by Feinstein, who for a decade had sought to protect land that wasn’t included in the 1994 California Desert Protection Act. That measure, which she authored, covered nearly 7.8 million acres, elevated Death Valley and Joshua Tree to national park status, and created Mojave National Preserve.
Feinstein had initially asked Obama in 2014 to use his authority to create the protected zones, without approval of Congress, to break a logjam of interests that had stalled her previous bills.
Her effort came on the heels of Obama’s designation earlier that year of much of Angeles National Forest as a national monument. Rep. Judy Chu (D-Monterey Park) had urged Obama to act after Congress appeared unwilling to approve her legislation to create a national recreation area to address problems in the San Gabriel Mountains.
Earlier this year, Feinstein supported a request by Chu and Sen. Alex Padilla (D-Calif.) for President Biden to add 109,167 acres to San Gabriel Mountains National Monument.
The move would increase the monument by roughly a third and extend its boundaries to the back door of San Fernando Valley neighborhoods including Sylmar, Santa Clarita and Pacoima. It would also give the U.S. Forest Service greater ability to protect natural resources and manage crowds in areas left out of the 2014 monument designation by then-President Obama.
“California has lost a true champion for our state,” Chu said.
Presidents dating back to Theodore Roosevelt have invoked the Antiquities Act to sidestep Congress to protect areas of historic or scientific interest.
Such action, however, is nearly always controversial, with critics saying the designations unreasonably limit logging, grazing, mining and other activities across wide swaths of the West.
In California, the development of solar-power facilities in the desert had been a top priority of the Obama administration as it sought to ease the nation’s dependence on fossil fuels and curb global warming.
Companies were racing to finalize their permits, which would qualify them to obtain some of the $15 billion in federal stimulus funds designated for renewable energy projects. At stake was the creation of 48,000 jobs and enough new energy to power almost 1.8 million homes, officials said at the time.
Despite fierce political and economic headwinds, Obama in 2016 designated the three new national monuments Feinstein had requested: Mojave Trails, Sand to Snow, and Castle Mountains.
Much of the land had been purchased more than a decade earlier by private citizens and Myers’ Wildlands Conservancy, then donated to the U.S. Bureau of Land Management in anticipation of its eventually receiving the protection of national monument status.
A post-designation ceremony held in the Oval Office was “one of my proudest moments in conservation,” Myers said. “They had us pose for a photograph — Sen. Feinstein was on Obama’s left, and I was on his right.”
“President Obama pulled us closer to him for the photo,” he added, “then smiled and said, ‘We’re all friends here, right?’ ”
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