In what may shape up as one of the nation’s most watched congressional races next year, state Sen. Jennifer Wexton (D-33) announced April 20 she is running to represent Virginia’s 10th Congressional District.
Wexton, a Leesburg resident, becomes the fifth person to either announce or file paperwork with the Federal Election Commission in the Democratic primary to challenge incumbent Republican Barbara Comstock.
“Virginia needs leaders who will roll up their sleeves and get things done. What we don’t need are Representatives like Barbara Comstock who hide from their constituents and vote in lockstep with Donald Trump,” said Wexton in a statement announcing her campaign. “In Congress, I’ll be a leader who gets things done for all of my constituents, not a politician who plays games.”
Like many Republicans in swing district across the country, Comstock is facing organized public backlash from vocal activists pressing her for supporting the repeal and replacement of the Affordable Care Act and for not hosting an in-person town hall event. She still has the momentum from a comfortable win less than six months ago, and has already raised more than $500,000 this year, which her supports say reflects her support in the district.
Though it gave Comstock the win in 2016, the 10th district voted heavily for Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton and the national party has her as one of the most vulnerable Republican seats next year.
She is the most high-profile candidate yet to announce and the first in this race to have held public office. A former Assistant Commonwealth’s Attorney for Loudoun County, Wexton was elected to the Senate in a special election in 2014 after Mark Herring won his race for Attorney General. Wexton’s victory, winning 53 percent of the vote in a three-way contest against current Republican Party of Virginia Chair John Whitbeck and former state Del. Joe May, gave control of the State Senate to the Democrats. She won re-election in 2015 with 56 percent of the vote.
Prior to running for the Senate, Wexton lost her challenge to Loudoun Commonwealth’s Attorney Jim Plowman in 2011.
Wexton earned her bachelor’s degree from the University of Maryland and juris doctor from William & Mary.