Hillary Clinton secured Loudoun County and Virginia tonight, despite being on a path to lose the national election to Donald Trump.
While Democrats thought a Virginia victory would be the first of many big swing-state wins, Clinton’s small margin of victory may instead have been an omen of Trump’s success across the nation.
This is the third consecutive time Virginia has voted Democrat for president after more than 40 years of voting Republican.
Trump held an early lead in Virginia as results were released, but was overwhelmed by late-reporting votes from Fairfax County, the most populous county in the state and a Democratic stronghold. Loudoun, considered by pundits a pivotal swing county, went even more decisively for Clinton than it did for President Obama in 2012. Clinton won Loudoun by about 17 points.
Trump spoke in Loudoun twice for campaign rallies, each of which were attended by thousands. GOP vice presidential nominee Mike Pence also appeared for a rally in Loudoun, and at events in nearby Paris, Virginia and Fairfax. Republicans had hoped to secure more votes in Loudoun, one of the nation’s fastest growing and most affluent counties, which is now the state’s third-largest in population.
Virginia was one of few swing states Trump had focused on that he didn’t win. With some results still outstanding, Trump had already scored wins in Florida, Ohio and North Carolina, and was making a strong run in Wisconsin, Michigan and Pennsylvania. Trump made multiple appearances in Michigan in the final stretch of his campaign.
While Trump galvanized his supporters in most states, Democrats provided a more unified front in the Commonwealth than did Virginia’s Republicans. The state’s top elected officers, all Democrats, and the entirety of the Democratic congressional delegation vocally supported Clinton and Kaine, capped off with a local rally the night before Election Day that featured both senators, three congressmen and a congressional candidate.
Conversely, high-profile state Republicans ranged from vocal support from 1st district representative Rob Wittman, tepid endorsement by former senate and current gubernatorial candidate Ed Gillespie and outright repudiation by 10th district representative Barbra Comstock.
The distance from first-term congresswoman Barbara Comstock could have also hurt Trump in the key swing district of Loudoun County, which forms the core of the 10th. While party Democrats brought in top party officials to canvas the county and raise support with their party’s nominee, LuAnn Bennett, Comstock ran a campaign mostly independent from much of the rest of her party. Comstock won her race by 10 points, but ran dead even with Bennett in Loudoun County.