Va. Dem enters race to challenge Comstock

Va. Dem enters race to challenge Comstock
© Greg Nash

A Virginia state senator who is considered one of the top Democrats in the area is entering the race to challenge Rep. Barbara Comstock (R-Va.).

State Sen. Jennifer Wexton declared her candidacy Thursday morning, attacking Comstock in a statement and linking her directly to President Trump.

"Virginia needs leaders who will roll up their sleeves and get things done," she said. 

"What we don't need are representatives like Barbara Comstock who hide from their constituents and vote in lockstep with Donald TrumpDonald TrumpAt center of Qatar crisis, a billion ransom Chaffetz: Threats against lawmakers should be taken seriously Warren cautions Dems against infighting MORE. In Congress, I'll be a leader who gets things done for all my constituents, not a politician who plays games." 

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Virginia's 10th District is often one of the most contentious districts in the country. Comstock, who came from the state legislature, won a convincing victory during the Republican wave of 2014 and then survived a tough challenge in 2016 despite a concerted Democratic effort to topple her. 

But Democrats, who have criticized her for not holding in-person town hall meetings with constituents, are hoping that Trump's administration will force Comstock into a corner. The president lost the 6th District by 10 percentage points in November, while she won by 6 points. 

Comstock came out against last month's controversial GOP plan to repeal and replace ObamaCare, criticized by moderate Republicans as a step too far, after it had already become clear the vote would fail. The White House is reportedly looking at reviving the plan, which could once again put vulnerable incumbents like Comstock in an uncomfortable spot.

Wexton has had electoral success in her state senate district that includes portions of the federal district she hopes to represent. And some Democrats familiar with the race's dynamics see her as a slight favorite to win the primary. 

But she'll have to make it through that crowded primary before she can take on Comstock. The field includes former Obama administration official Lindsey Davis Stover, Army veteran Daniel Helmer and former teachers union head Kimberly Adams. And The Washington Post reports that Dorothy McAuliffe, the wife of current Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe (D), is among others considering a bid.