New polling data released by congressional Democrats show Rep. Barbara Comstock, R-10th District, facing an uphill climb to win re-election this fall — though the results are perhaps more encouraging for the two-term incumbent than other recent polls of the swing district.
The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, commonly known as the DCCC, released a memo April 3 showing that 10th District voters would pick a generic Democrat over a Republican by a 12-point margin if the midterm elections were held right now.
The DCCC, the campaign arm of House Democrats, said those results were based off both its own polling and data from campaigns, and did not release full details on its methodology in the 10th except to say the poll was conducted from March 21-22 and included data from at least 400 voters.
However, the DCCC data also shows that Comstock performed significantly better when her name was included on the ballot — the group found her down three points against a named Democratic opponent. The DCCC did not identify which of the bevy of Democrats vying for the seat was included in that survey.
Even still, the results are yet another indication that Democrats have reason for optimism in the closely watched district, which includes parts of Prince William and Fairfax counties and all of Loudoun, Frederick and Clarke counties.
In all, six Democrats secured enough signatures to be included on the June 12 primary ballot: scientist Julia Biggins, former State Department official Alison Friedman, Army veteran Dan Helmer, former federal prosecutor Paul Pelletier, former Veterans Affairs’ staffer Lindsey Davis Stover and state Sen. Jennifer Wexton, D-33rd District.
At various points in the run-up to the election, five other Democrats also announced primary bids, but they’ve either since dropped out or did not obtain enough signatures to make the ballot.
Friedman, Helmer and Stover have all amassed large campaign war chests, despite being political newcomers, but Wexton is broadly considered the favored candidate of party leaders, given her status as the lone elected official in the race. Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam endorsed her candidacy last month, following the lead of several other members of Congress and state representatives.
Yet Democrats believe that whoever emerges from the wide primary field will be able to knock off Comstock on Nov. 6, considering that generic ballot polls have shown double-digit advantages for Democrats in the district. Northam also won the 10th by a 13-percent margin last fall.
Republicans have pointed to the fact, however, that Comstock has frequently out-performed other Republicans at the top of the ticket. For instance, in 2016 she bested President Donald Trump’s performance in the district by about 10 points.
Comstock is also facing a long-shot primary challenge from Shak Hill, who ran unsuccessfully for the GOP nomination in the 2014 race for U.S. Senate.