Yesli Vega could become the first representative of Salvadoran origin in the United States House of Representatives. She is a member of the Prince William County Board of Supervisors and won the GOP nomination Tuesday in central Virginia’s 7th Congressional District, near Washington.
Vega, the daughter of Salvadoran immigrants Abel Ventura and Reyna, originally from La Unión, was born in Houston and easily defeated all five of her opponents. She will face incumbent Democratic Rep. Abigail Spanberger in what is expected to be a competitive general election contest that could help determine which party controls the US House of Representatives.
Vega is a graduate of American Military University and the Northern Virginia Academy of Criminal Justice. Her career began as a police officer with the Alexandria, Virginia City Police Department. She later served in the Manassas Park Police Department, where she became a certified hostage negotiator, and later joined the Prince William County Sheriff’s Office to serve as a deputy and member of the Crisis Intervention Team.
The Republican challenger is an assistant deputy with the Prince William County Sheriff’s Office and a member of the county’s board of supervisors.
Vega easily won Tuesday’s primary over candidates with the most money and name recognition, including a sitting state senator. Vega was buoyed by endorsements from well-known supporters of former President Donald Trump, including Texas Sen. Ted Cruz and Virginia Congressman Bob Good. Vega also touted the endorsement of Ginni Thomas, the wife of Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas, a conservative activist who had urged Trump’s chief of staff to help nullify the 2020 election.
Vega’s closest competitors were Derrick Anderson, a former Green Beret, and Bryce Reeves, a state senator backed by Florida Sen. Marco Rubio and former Gov. George Allen.
Vega’s rival, Spanberger, is a centrist Democrat, did not face a challenge in the primary, and has raised a huge amount of money for the race.
“It’s very clear that Vega is trying to build her entire campaign on the far-right segment of the Republican Party,” said Stephen Farnsworth, director of the Center for Leadership and Media Studies at the University of Mary Washington.
“That makes sense for the primary … but it does create some liability for the general election,” Farnsworth said on the eve of the primary.
“This is probably the kind of race Spanberger would like to run,” Holsworth said.