Democrats eagerly anticipate the chance to take control of Congress from Republicans, and Virginia selected the Democrats candidates who will fight the GOP for contested Virginia seats in the primary election Tuesday.
Here are the three Democrats in Virginia battleground races hoping to unseat Republicans incumbents and potentially take the majority in the House.
One of the most contested districts is the 10th district, which includes some of the more distant suburbs of Washington, D.C. Incumbent Republican Rep. Barbara Comstock won in 2016 by just six points, and the district backed Hillary Clinton over Donald Trump in that election by 10 points. (RELATED: Trump Celebrates California Primary Wins: ‘So Much For Blue Wave’)
Six hopefuls campaigned for the Democratic nomination, but state Sen. Jennifer Wexton came out ahead with 43 percent of the vote, The Washington Post reports.
Wexton didn’t raise the most money of the six during her primary campaign, but was the favorite leading up to Tuesday. She’s the only candidate of the six who had held an elected office and gained Democratic Gov. Ralph Northam’s endorsement.
During the campaign Wexton stressed her ability to work with Republicans — she was part of legislature that was dominated by Republicans until earlier in 2018.
She has an “F” rating from the National Rifle Association, but that didn’t stop Democrats from criticizing her decision to support a deal that then-Gov. Terry McAuliffe, a Democrat, struck with the Second Amendment group to strengthen limits on convicted domestic abusers’ right to own firearms. Working with the NRA is apostasy for the party, but Wexler said that’s how government works: “This is what you do when you govern. You compromise,” she said during a debate in April.
Comstock held off her own primary challenger Tuesday, beating Shak Hill who managed to win around 37 percent of the vote with 61 percent of precincts reporting.
In the 2nd Congressional District, which includes Norfolk, Virginia Beach and miles of coastline, one-term Republican incumbent Rep. Scott Taylor will face Elaine Luria for the seat in November.
The race is considered a possible seat to flip to the Democrats because, though Taylor won election in 2016, Hillary Clinton won the district with 3 percent over Trump.
Former U.S. Navy commander Elaine Luria, a newcomer to politics, won the Democratic nomination with more than 60 of the vote, The New York Times reports, over her primary opponent Karen Mallard, another political newcomer. She has the endorsement of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee and Emily’s List, but voted for Taylor twice — once in the commonwealth’s open primary in 2016, and again in the general election in 2016.
The fiscal conservative maverick incumbent Rep. Dave Brat will face Abigail Spanberger in the 7th Congressional District race in November. Spanberger beat Democratic opponent Daniel Ward with nearly 75 percent of the vote Tuesday, The Washington Post reports.
The district has been solidly Republican for the past presidential elections, but Trump’s election may have inspired the increasing younger demographics in the area to go to the polls. The district went blue during the governors race in 2017 by eight points.
Spanberger is a former CIA operative, and this is her first time seeking political office. Her policy positions were nearly identical to her primary opponents — both supported protecting and expanding the Affordable Care Act, limiting access to firearms and supporting abortion rights.
Where Spanberger’s campaign was focused on the district, Ward campaigned against Trump.
“We need someone in Washington working to understand the challenges of the people in our district, working to understand how it is that through federal legislation we can positively impact people’s lives and work every single day to make the lives of our constituents across the 7th District better,” Spanberger said, according to the Richmond Times-Dispatch.
Ward also thought his gender played against him in the race.
“She’s had the red carpet laid out for her in the national media,” Ward told The Washington Post. “And gender is really the only reason why.”
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