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Rep. Abigail Spanberger
Rep. Abigail Spanberger speaks during a press conference in Fredericksburg, Va. on Aug. 25, 2022.Win McNamee / Getty Images file

'Country over party:' A new campaign refrain emerges

At least four candidates in tough races on both sides of the aisle have run ads that distance themselves from political parties.


In a new ad, Democratic Rep. Abigail Spanberger tells voters in her district that “I swore an oath to the Constitution to put country first before party and to get things done.”

Spanberger's message of unity comes as she faces a tough re-election race in Virginia’s 7th District, one the Cook Political Report rates Lean Democratic and one that Republicans are eying to flip this fall.

And she’s not the first candidate this cycle to appeal to voters by claiming she’ll put “country over party.” In Ohio, Democratic Rep. Tim Ryan told voters in one ad, “We can’t afford to be Democrats and Republicans right now, we have to be Americans first.

In Colorado, it's Republican Joe O’Dea’s wife who told viewers in one ad that her husband "cares about the country, not a political party. When Joe O’Dea says he’s American before he’s a Republican, he means it.”

And in Nebraska, GOP Rep. Don Bacon's wife told viewers in one recent ad, "My husband, Don Bacon, has spent the last 40 years putting our country before partisan politics."

O’Dea, Bacon and Ryan are running in tough races, too. O’Dea’s Senate race in Colorado is rated Lean Democratic, Ryan’s Senate race in Ohio is rated Lean Republican and Bacon's is rated a Toss Up.

In North Carolina, Democratic Senate nominee Cheri Beasley echoed a similar sentiment in an ad earlier this year, when she distanced herself from both parties and told viewers, "I’ll hold Washington accountable, too, because the special interests have too much power and neither political party is getting it right."

Beasley's race to fill Sen. Richard Burr's, R-N.C., seat is rated Lean Republican by the Cook Political Report.