Republican presidential candidate Donald J. Trump charged to a surprise victory Tuesday and freshman incumbent Representative Barbara Comstock (R-VA-10) won a second term in Congress, despite Loudoun’s vote.
Comstock’s challenger, Democrat LuAnn Bennett, became the first 10th District Democrat to win in Loudoun since 1978, but her 149-vote margin of victory in Loudoun’s unofficial results wasn’t enough to win district-wide. Across the district, Bennett earned 166,263 votes (46.27 percent) to Comstock’s 191,696 votes (53.34 percent).
Loudoun also strongly backed Clinton, awarding her 99,909 votes to Trump’s 69,633. Libertarian Gary Johnson earned 5,611 votes in Loudoun and independent Evan McMullin took 3,378. There were 1,886 write-in votes and 689 left blank.
The election drew participation from a record number of Loudoun voters 82,459, but the overall turnout was about equivalent to the 2012 presidential election. That year, 76.29 percent of registered voters turned out; this year, 76.18 percent showed up to the polls.
The state, too, favored Clinton, though by a narrow margin. But despite Democratic success in federal races in Loudoun, Comstock held on in the 10th District, and Trump forged a path to victory nationwide.
Loudoun Republicans crowded around TVs at Hilton Garden Inn in Ashburn late Tuesday to watch results trickle in. They chanted “lock her up,” referring to Clinton, and later screamed “Trump, Trump, Trump,” as the GOP nominee won key states, such as Florida and North Carolina.
Meanwhile, in the banquet room next door, Republican Barbara Comstock gave her victory speech after easily securing her second term in the 10th Congressional District.
As she walked on and off the stage, the speakers played “Another One Bites the Dust,” referring to her challenger. As her daughter, Katie, said of the song, “When you’re the target of millions of dollars of attack ads, you kind of need to have a sense of humor.”
The 10th Congressional District had been targeted by national Democratic groups as a district that could turn blue for the first time since 1980.
The congresswoman said she would continue working on issues that matter to 10th District residents, such as fighting the heroin epidemic and bolstering the region’s businesses. She thanked her family, campaign workers and her supporters. “This has been a wonderful job to work with every one of you and to continue to be able to lead with this coalition of wonderful people to serve your district,” Comstock said. “This win is your win.”
A few in the crowd shouted, “We love you, Barbara.”
Comstock may have won support from moderate voters when she distanced herself from Trump a month ago after a 2005 recording of the business mogul making crude sexual remarks about women was publicized. The congresswoman called for him to drop out of the race and said she could not support him or Clinton for president. She later said she would write in her preferred candidate, but would not say who.
Kamal Gill, who lives in Ashburn, said Comstock won his support when he saw her hard work for the 10th District during her first term. “She’s one of the hardest working people around,” he said. He praised her as “one of the first local elected officials to work with the international community to solve problems.”
In her concession, Bennett said she was very proud of the campaign and vision for the district and country she and her team put forward.
“This has been a particularly difficult election for our country—one that has given us two very different visions for the future,” Bennett said.
Sen. Richard H. Black (R-13) told a crowd of Trump supporters that the GOP presidential candidate is the one to put the country back on the right track. “The Republic is in deep trouble if Hillary Clinton wins this election, and she is able to put rubber-stamp, Marxists judges on the Supreme Court.”
And Andrew Bambrick, a 20-year-old Patrick Henry College student, was among those gathered with other Republicans at Comstock’s victory party late Tuesday. He high-fived other supporters as the results rolled in. He said his support for Comstock came easy—“she’s a phenomenal leader”—but his vote for Trump was tougher to come by. He voted for U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz in the primary. “Trump isn’t my ideal candidate, but I think he has the potential to be a good leader,” he said. “I think his heart is in the right place. So, we’ll see.”