Wexton Cao combined.jpg

Congresswoman Jennifer Wexton (D) is being challenged by Republican Hug Cao in Virginia's 10th District.

Democratic incumbent Jennifer Wexton is working to hold off Republican challenger Hung Cao in Virginia’s 10th Congressional District, which includes a broad swath of Northern Virginia.

Wexton is seeking her third term in Congress, having knocked off previous incumbent Barbara Comstock by 12 percentage points in 2018 and Republican challenger Aliscia Andrews by a similar margin in 2020. This time around, however, Wexton will be running in a less comfortably Democratic district after congressional boundaries were redrawn by an order from the Supreme Court of Virginia late last year.

The new boundaries cut off the western and eastern reaches of the previous district, moving areas like Winchester and northern Fairfax County, a populous Democratic stronghold, to other districts and adding more rural – and Republican – parts of Fauquier and Rappahannock counties to the 10th. As currently constituted, the district’s precincts voted for Democratic gubernatorial candidate Terry McAuliffe by a slim margin over Gov. Glenn Youngkin last year.

The current district still includes a small portion of Fairfax County, as well as the western portion of Prince William County, Manassas and Manassas Park.

In Congress, Wexton has sponsored legislation that would offer grants for police departments with fewer than 200 officers, make monkeypox testing free, expand veterans disability compensation and ban assault weapons. She supported the bipartisan infrastructure agreement, COVID stimulus and the recent Inflation Reduction Act, which aims to reduce the federal deficit, invest in renewable energy and lower prescription drug costs for Medicare beneficiaries.

Unlike Wexton, who served five years in the state Senate before running for Congress, Cao is a political newcomer. Born in Vietnam, his family came to the U.S. when he was 4. According to a National Republican Congressional Committee candidate bio, he then spent most of his youth in West Africa before returning to the U.S. in 1982. A graduate of Thomas Jefferson High School in Alexandria and the U.S. Naval Academy, Cao went on to spend more than 30 years in the Navy, including leading the Navy’s dive school in Panama City, Fla.

He beat over 10 other candidates for the Republican nomination in a firehouse primary in May.

Wexton has tried to paint Cao as too extreme in his conservative beliefs for the district. Cao has called himself “pro-life” and has said that he thinks abortion laws should be left up to the states, but at times has used extreme rhetoric on the issue, like saying that under Democratic Gov. Ralph Northam, abortion was legal up until the point of birth “or even post-bith,” which was not true.

Cao, meanwhile, has criticized Wexton and President Joe Biden for high inflation and interest rates. On education, he said he opposes what he calls “political agendas” and “indoctrination” in schools and said in a recent debate that he opposes allowing transgender athletes to compete in school sports.

“Biological boys shouldn’t be in girls’ bathrooms, locker rooms or sports,” he said.

Cao has also criticized admissions policy changes for Thomas Jefferson High School aimed at admitting more Black and Hispanic students. Cao said those changes were “destroying the meritocracy” at the school. On the economy and health care, Cao has said he wants to let the free market work without government interference, calling for cutting taxes and spending.

Wexton has held a fundraising advantage for much of the campaign, but Cao cut into her lead in the period ending Sept. 30, outraising Wexton over the previous three months. As of Oct. 19, Wexton had raised a total of $3.7 million to Cao’s $2.8 million, according to the Virginia Public Access Project.

Jared Foretek covers the Manassas area and regional news across Northern Virginia. Reach him at jforetek@insidenova.com

You must be logged in to react.
Click any reaction to login.


Jared Foretek covers Prince William County Public Schools, the city of Manassas and transportation news across Northern Virginia. Reach him at jforetek@insidenova.com

(16) comments

Rod McSmith

Vote Democrat

Cornelius Papadoupolos

Isn't it interesting that the Democrats have offered two white ladys while the republicans have a Latina and Vietnamese as their candidates? Feeling uncomfortable yet Dems?

Duke Nukem

She went to one of her districts with an African American Rep of some other state too, because of obvious reasons. I wonder if she treats him like Hillary carries around a packet of hot sauce in her purse.

Will Williams

Did wexton have a stroke? She can barely talk these days.

Gary Giacoma

Not much bias in your “reporting,” is there, Jared? Just another political hack.

Fake Commenter

Before anyone votes- go buy groceries, fill up your car with fuel ( or pay your utility bills), check your 401k and investment accounts.

Don't forget which party voted for lockdowns, School closures, & wanted you to lose your job because of vacccination status.

Wayne the Pain.

As a republican I find Cao too dang controversial and nothing but a mini Trump. Glad I do not live in that district any longer. I don't want to see power (majority) with the dems but the party of R needs to be smarter about who they put up to run.

Duke Nukem

Mitch McConnell is that you? You probably like Mitch don't you?

Comment deleted.
Tom Manson

Your comments get stupider with each passing day.

Paul Benedict

In Jared's opinion piece he states that Cao has used "extreme rhetoric". I guess he forgets that Wexton's entire platform is based on extreme positions. She actively supports biological boys on girls athletic teams. She has supported Biden's disastrous policies 100% and has not spoken out against the criminal activities of the president's son Hunter or his crooked business dealings with Chinese, Russian and Ukrainian companies and oligarchs.

Jennifer Wexton is too extreme, even for Northern Virginia. She does not have a backbone to stand up to the vile left.

Dick Grayson

Jared is a clown, wears his politics on his sleeve and promotes Dim agendas at every turn. Not a journalist just a political tool. Obviously can’t cite a single Wexton accomplishment.

Tom Manson

Cao is a fool that misrepresents every aspect of his life, from education through combat, then takes up extremist positions and hides behind his service. Wexton is highly qualified, and holds moderate views.

I can't wait to stop getting texts from both parties. The Cao spam is extreme, daily, and out of line.

Bill Rio

Assault weapon is an undefinable term for weapons. To ban them could mean all semi auto weapons. That is an extreme position on guns.

I do not know much about Cao other than this article, but looking through Wexton, she doesn't seem moderate. She seems like a lock step democrat.

Tom Manson

Unfortunately assault weapon has become the common term. You can tilt at windmills but I doubt it will ever change.

Fake Commenter

Good point. Will she ban assault hammers? Assault knives?

Paul Benedict

Wexton voted to support abortion with no restrictions right up to the point of birth. That's extreme. Wexton supports illegals 100% in spite of the gang violence and fentanyl they have brought to Northern Virginia (killing hundreds). That's extreme. She voted for the oxymoronically named Inflation Reduction Act. That's extreme. What in the world do you think is moderate about her?

Welcome to the discussion.

Keep it Clean. Please avoid obscene, vulgar, lewd, racist or sexually-oriented language.
Don't Threaten. Threats of harming another person will not be tolerated.
Be Truthful. Don't knowingly lie about anyone or anything.
Be Nice. No racism, sexism or any sort of -ism that is degrading to another person.
Be Proactive. Use the 'Report' link on each comment to let us know of abusive posts.
Share with Us. We'd love to hear eyewitness accounts, the history behind an article.