Wexton ousts Comstock in the 10th

Democrat Jennifer Wexton (second from right) takes a moment from campaigning at Jennie Dean Elementary School in Manassas on Nov. 6 to pose with state Sen. Jeremy McPike (second from left) and Manassas City Council members Pamela Sebesky and Ken Elston. (Photo by Brian Trompeter)

State Sen. Jennifer Wexton (D-Loudoun) overcame two-term incumbent U.S. Rep. Barbara Comstock (R-10th) Nov. 6 and will become the first Democrat in 38 years to hold that seat.

Wexton’s victory was part of a good night for Democrats across Northern Virginia, as the party also saw two incumbent legislators (U.S. Reps. Gerry Connolly and Don Beyer) win easy victories.

With 212 of 213 precincts reporting Wednesday morning, Wexton polled 202,557 votes (56.2 percent) to 157,561 (43.7 percent) for Comstock.

Health care and gun-violence prevention were critical issues in the election, Wexton said on Election Day.

“I think that people are ready to send representatives to Congress who are going to work across the aisle, work to get results and not engage in all the partisan bickering,” she said.

Wexton, who from 2001 through 2005 served as an assistant commonwealth’s attorney in Loudoun County, was elected to the state Senate in January 2014 to serve the unexpired term of Democrat Mark Herring, who had been elected to his first term as state attorney general. Wexton then was re-elected for a full four-year term in 2015.

Comstock, an attorney and former aide to her predecessor, U.S. Rep. Frank Wolf (R-10th), had represented the 34th District in the Virginia House of Delegates before being elected to Congress in 2014. She had touted her work on Metro reforms and combating the opioid epidemic and human trafficking.

Perhaps knowing that the writing was on the wall, Comstock was elusive on Election Day. Wexton, a Washington-area native who now lives in Leesburg, said the campaign boiled down to voter dissatisfaction.

“People are ready for a change,” she said.

Comstock repeatedly voted against the Affordable Care Act, was “bought and paid-for by the gun lobby” and did nothing to stop gun violence; and has not stood up to President Trump, instead voting with him 98 percent of the time, Wexton said.

“That’s outside the values of this district,” she said.

Voter turnout was up throughout the district and many more 18- to 29-year-olds had voted absentee, Wexton said while campaigning outside Jennie Dean Elementary School in Manassas.

With polls looking as though Democrats would seize control of the U.S. House of Representatives and Republicans would maintain their majority in the U.S. Senate, Wexton said it still was possible for lawmakers to work together constructively.

“I’ve spent the last four and a half years in the General Assembly in the state Senate and still managed to pass over 40 bills, despite being in the minority,” she said. “I’ve done that by reaching across the aisle to find solutions and work on legislation that helps kids and families.”

Wexton will join Connolly (D-11th) and Beyer (D-8th) in the three-member Northern Virginia delegation to the U.S. House of Representatives.

Campaigning on Election Day, Connolly suggested time had run out for Republicans in the sprawling 10th District, which runs from McLean west and south and has becoming increasingly Democratic-leaning.

“I think the incumbent is simply out of step with her district,” said Connolly, en route Tuesday to winning a sixth term. “The district has changed. She’s out of step on guns, she’s out of step on taxes, she’s out of step on women’s rights.”

Wexton will become the first Democrat to hold the 10th District seat since Joseph Fisher, who occupied it from 1975 to 1980. Since the district’s creation in the early 1950s, the only other occupants have been Republicans: Joel Broyhill, Frank Wolf and Comstock.

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