Heading into the pivotal final few days of the 2016 campaign season, several high-profile Democrats joined Gold Star parent Khizr Khan and Virginia 10th Congressional District candidate LuAnn Bennett Nov. 4 for a visit to the Loudoun center branch of the All Dulles Area Muslim Society.
Khan is the latest in a long list of well-known names to campaign alongside Bennett. Democrats are hoping to win the 10th District for the first time in 36 years, while also securing votes in the densely populated northern region of the state for the ticket of presidential nominee Hillary Clinton and vice presidential nominee Tim Kaine, a current Virginia senator.
The father of U.S. Army Captain Humayun Khan, who died while serving in the Iraq war, Khizr Khan made headlines for his speech at the 2016 Democratic National Convention denouncing Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump. The speech, and the GOP nominee’s subsequent criticisms of Khan and his wife, Ghazala, became one of the major storylines of the election cycle.
“Every street, every shop, every airport that I go to, they reach out to say thank you, regardless of asking what my faith is, what my religion is,” Khan said. “They simply want to acknowledge the emphasis, the reminder, we have extended them about the values of this country.”
Though Muslims make up around one percent of the electorate nationwide, they are a growing and important voting bloc in many pivotal regions of the country, particularly Northern Virginia. Recent nationwide polling shows the majority of Muslims have supported Clinton in the election over Trump, who earlier in the campaign called for a ban of all Muslims from entering the country.
Virginia Sen. Mark Warner, Virginia Attorney General Mark Herring and Virginia’s 86th House District Delegate Jennifer Boysko also attended the event at the ADAMS center. Warner talked about Virginia’s historical role in shaping the nation’s religious liberties and denounced what he called the “ugliness” of this current campaign season’s rhetoric.
“It’s not American and clearly not the foundations of Virginia,” Warner said. “From the federal government stand point, there’s still more to do.”
The event is part of a frantic few days as the Bennet campaign looks to reach out to all voting groups leading up to Election Day. Bennett is canvasing the 10th District, which stretches from Frederick County in the west to parts of Fairfax County in the east, during a series of events this weekend. Polls show Bennett in a close race with Republican incumbent Barbara Comstock.
In one of the nation’s closest races, Bennett has drawn in-person support from many big-name Democrats. Earlier this fall she was joined by New York’s 8th congressional district representative Hakeem Jeffries, a two-term congressman and rumored New York City mayoral candidate. More recently, she was joined on the trail by House Democratic Whip, Steny Hoyer, the chamber’s No. 2 ranking member in the party.
Following the event at the ADAMS center, she was joined by current 8th Congressional District representative Don Beyer, a former Virginia Lt. Governor and ambassador to Switzerland and Liechtenstein, at campaign stops in Leesburg.
Phyllis Randall, Kristen Umstattd and Koran Saines, the three Democratic members on the nine-person Loudoun County Board of Supervisors, have also campaigned alongside Bennett.
Other local elected officials to campaign with Bennett include: Virginia State Senator for the 33rd District Jennifer Wexton; Virginia House of Delegate for the 34th District representative Kathleen Murphy; Leesburg Vice-Mayor Kelly Burk; and Karen Jimmerson, Vice-Mayor of Purcellville.