Dems Hope To Seize On Presidential Ground Game To Knock Off Comstock

Rep. Bar­bara Com­stock’s North­ern Vir­gin­ia-based seat is home to a rare breed: swing voters in a swing dis­trict in a swing state.

And by Novem­ber, they’ll be among the most tar­geted in the pres­id­en­tial race.

The di­vided polit­ics of the 10th Dis­trict make it a true bell­weth­er battle­ground, in­vit­ing out­size at­ten­tion and re­sources from both parties. As the first-term Re­pub­lic­an faces a chal­lenge from Demo­crat Lu­Ann Ben­nett, those top-of-the-tick­et dy­nam­ics could have sub­stan­tial bear­ing on her reelec­tion.

“Com­stock is not just bat­tling Ben­nett here,” said Ford O’Con­nell, a GOP strategist who’s been act­ive in Vir­gin­ia polit­ics. “Com­stock is bat­tling the Demo­crat­ic plan to win the state of Vir­gin­ia.”

Com­stock’s dis­trict in­cludes Loudoun and Prince Wil­li­am counties, two jur­is­dic­tions whose elec­tion res­ults tend to mir­ror the out­come of statewide races. Em­boldened by re­cent demo­graph­ic trends that have turned North­ern Vir­gin­ia more Demo­crat­ic, the party sees this pres­id­en­tial cycle as its best shot to un­seat the first-term Com­stock.

The fresh­man Re­pub­lic­an won the open seat in 2014 by a wide mar­gin, even as Demo­crats pre­dicted a com­pet­it­ive race at the out­set. This cycle, the party ex­pects to be buoyed by heav­ier turnout in the area, known for its in­de­pend­ent vot­ing streak and pricey D.C. me­dia mar­ket.

Re­pub­lic­ans, O’Con­nell said, “have a large prob­lem in North­ern Vir­gin­ia. But if they have any­thing to hang their hat on, it’s Com­stock.”

Read more from Kimberly Railey at National Journal

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Analysis & Political Strategy