The first term Congresswoman from the 10th positions herself well to hold on to evenly divided District.[read_more]
When Barbara Comstock won the nomination last year to succeed retiring GOP Representative Frank Wolf, she faced a huge challenge. Her district, which runs from northeastern Fairfax County through Loudoun and down into the Northern Shenandoah Valley, is fairly evenly split between Democrats (who secured an Obama victory in the district in 2008) and Republicans (who gave Mitt Romeny a narrow edge in 2012). Its proximity to Washington means a high percentage of voters whose livelihoods depend in some way on government, be it through direct employment or via the innumerable contractors and providers of services to support them, or the legions of lawyers and lobbyists who make their living dealing with the government.
As such, Comstock has attempted to walk a razor’s edge, siding at times with the conservative base. This has earned her the ire of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, who reviles Comstock for the heresy to femaleness of opposing Hillary Clinton, calling her a “professional Clinton hater,” and citing with much opprobrium news stories, such as this one, that characterize Comstock as “A One-Woman Wrecking Crew [Targeting] Democratic Leaders.”
At other times, Comstock has taken more “pragmatic” votes designed to appeal directly to her government-centric District (see this piece from TBE: “Barbara Comstock Votes With Democrats to Fully Fund DHS through September“).
Whatever you think of her votes, her strategy is paying off. Literally. The Washington Post is reporting that Comstock has raised $1.1 million so far since her election last November. At this pace, she will have close to $3 million to fend off any Democrat challengers for her seat next year, and likely more if the fundraising pace picks up closer to the election. Democrats are hoping that the larger turnout in a presidential year can tip the balance in their favor.
They’d be better off looking for a candidate who can actually stand toe-to-toe with Comstock, unlike the disaster of a candidate they ran last time. Comstock is not your run-of-the-mill pol. She has a charm and an ability to connect with voters that may be unmatched among other members of the Virginia delegation, and she’s going to have the resources to back it up.
And though there are rumors of a nomination challenge from the right, every time Democrats open their mouths to attack Comstock for conservative votes, it makes such a challenge that much more difficult. This hasn’t stopped the DCCC from trying to make Comstock a “one term wonder,” and excoriating her for having “reckless and irresponsible positions.” Such empty attacks won’t do much to shake the electorate’s faith in this candidate, especially not after they sent her to Congress with a 16-point margin.