WINCHESTER — Due to expected high Democratic voter turnout in the Nov. 3 presidential election, political analysts say Rep. Jennifer Wexton, D-10th, will likely win another term.
Wexton defeated Republican Barbara Comstock by a 12-point margin in Nov. 2018. The seat had been held by a Republican for nearly 40 years. The 10th district includes all of Frederick, Clarke and Loudoun counties, the cities of Winchester, Manassas and Manassas Park and parts of Fairfax and Prince William counties.
Political analyst Jennifer Nicoll Victor, associate professor of political science at George Mason University’s Schar School Policy and Government, said the 10th district race is “not projected to be particularly close.” She said this is indicative of what experts are seeing nationally for House races and that Democrats are likely to hold their majority in the House.
“I think what we are seeing with Virginia 10th is similar to what we are seeing in a number of other suburban districts in the United States right now where Democrats are gaining political strength and sort of solidifying the suburban areas,” Victor said. “In years when Democratic candidates tend to do better, that strength of urban population centers sort of bleeds out into the suburbs. So the blue wave tends to not just be in the city centers, but also the surrounding suburbs.”
While Victor expects record-breaking turnouts at the polls this year, with both Democrats and Republicans being highly motivated, Republican President Donald Trump’s poor polling numbers don’t bode well for the Republican party.
“I think the sort-of blue wave we saw in 2018, a lot of really motivated Democrats turned out to vote who were really dissatisfied with Donald Trump,” Victor said. “I think we are seeing a resurgence of that this year and a lot of motivation among Democratic candidates to try to oust the incumbent from office. And that is paying dividends to down-ballot congressional races, such as the one we are seeing in Virginia 10th. That doesn’t mean Republicans won’t ever win there again. It just means Democrats have a structural advantage at least for now, in that seat.”
If Republicans ever do reclaim the 10th District, Victor thinks it's more likely to happen in 2022.
“If Biden wins, and let's say Wexton gets re-elected in Virginia 10th, then traditionally, the midterm election in a president’s first term is bad for the incumbent party,” Victor said. “So we might expect that Republicans will do quite well in the 2022 midterms. And because the Virginia 10th has been a district that has been Republican not that long ago, that might be a place that Republicans might be able to make inroads.”
Wexton is currently outpacing her opponent in fundraising. According to the Virginia Public Access Project, as of Sept. 30, Wexton has raised $3.7 million —compared to $1.165 million raised by Republican Aliscia Andrews.
Victor said that although the Democrats have a good chance of taking control of the U.S. Senate, the margin will be much closer than the House races. However, she added that Democratic incumbent Mark Warner is “almost certainly” going to be re-elected to the U.S. Senate over Republican Daniel Gade.