Leesburg Democrat Jennifer Wexton ushered the blue wave into Loudoun County Tuesday, returning the 10th Congressional District to her party after it had been considered a Republican stronghold for almost 40 years.
Wexton’s landslide win over second-term Republican Congresswoman Barbara Comstock was considered the first incumbent knockout of the mid-term election, with Republicans losing House seats across the country.
Wexton beat Comstock with 56 percent of the vote to Comstock’s 44 percent. In Loudoun, Wexton led with 60 percent of the vote to 40 percent. Incumbent Senator Tim Kaine (D), the other Congressional seat on the ballot in Loudoun, won his election by an even wider margin, pulling in 57 percent of the vote statewide and 63 percent of the vote in Loudoun.
While Kaine and Wexton won handily overall in Loudoun, their races were tighter in the county’s western districts. Comstock even edged out Wexton in the Catoctin District. Stewart and Comstock recorded wins in several western Loudoun precincts, including Lovettsville, Waterford, Hillsboro, Round Hill and Purcellville, but those pockets of support did little to push back the Democratic steamroller.
The news of Wexton’s victory—one of the first races called Tuesday evening—was greeted by elated screaming and tears at the Democrat’s election night party at the Washington Dulles Airport Marriott.
“I really didn’t anticipate that this race would be called so quickly,” Wexton said after coming onstage.
Surrounded by her family and other Democratic elected officials—many of whom had been elected in the last two years—Wexton thanked her staff and the people who pushed to get her into office. She’s represented Loudoun County in the state Senate since 2014.
“I’ve been saying since the beginning of this campaign that change is coming to America, and change is coming to VA-10, and that change came tonight,” Wexton said. “But that kind of change doesn’t just happen. It happens because of all of you.”
She also said the election “sent a message that we are a better nation, that we demand a better nation, a nation where we treat each other with dignity and respect.”
“Americans deserve a nation where our children are safe, sick people get the health care they need, immigrants are welcome, schools are successful, and it’s no longer easier to buy a gun than it is to vote,” Wexton said. “That is the America I believe in. That is the America you all worked for, and that is the America that VA-10 just voted for.”
Wexton’s celebration attracted some of the biggest names among Virginia Democrats. Gov. Ralph Northam stepped onstage to congratulate Wexton. And he said while Democrats could celebrate Tuesday night, the next morning there would be work to do. He promised that Democrats would reclaim majorities in both houses of the legislature and then win the White House.
“We know the blue wave, it was started in 2017, continues to roll across Virginia,” Northam said. “And it is all of you that give us inspiration and hope that tomorrow, Virginia will be just a little bit better than today.”
He was joined onstage by his predecessor, former Gov. Terry McAuliffe, who also said Democrats’ victories would continue through 2020.
“Look at us today,” McAuliffe said. “We are a blue state today, folks.”
Wexton left the stage to the song “Jenny from the Block” by Jennifer Lopez.
Maha Majdoub, co-owner of Twinpanzee Brewing Company where Democrats hosted several campaign events during the campaign, said she was so happy she was “shaking.”
“We’re winning!” she declared. “It’s all blue, my friend. The blue wave, we’re winning, we’re winning—we just got Wexton’d.”
“I can’t tell you how good it feels,” said Loudoun County Democratic Committee Chairman Al Nevarez. “Thirty-seven years this was in Republican hands. When I first started getting involved with LCDC, this was the one that seemed like it was going to be hardest rock to crack.”
At 58 percent, Loudoun saw the largest voter turnout since the 2012 presidential election, when 76 percent of eligible voters cast a ballot.
Already other Democrats are lining up to run for the seat she will vacate in the Virginia senate. At least two were at the celebration—state Del. Jennifer B. Boysko (D-86) and consultant and Weekly Bangladeshee newspaper owner Sharafat Hussain.
‘Failure is Never Fatal’ for Comstock
News of Comstock’s loss prompted a somber crowd at a watch party at the Hilton Garden Inn in Ashburn to shout “thank you, Barbara” and “we love you” as she took the stage. Although several of the congresswoman’s staff members, family members and supporters were in tears, Comstock held a firm smile.
“It has been the greatest privilege to work with and serve all of you for the past nine years…I can’t thank you enough for that,” she said. She asked her campaign volunteers, staff members and family members to join her on stage, where she thanked them for their support during her five years in the General Assembly and four years in Congress.
“Over these nine years we have had incredible, wonderful wins… We lost this fight but we have won so many others,” she said. Comstock listed the federal tax breaks Congress passed last year, improvements made to services for military veterans and their work to combat opioid addiction and inspire young women through her Women in Leadership program. “Success is never final. Failure is never fatal. It is the courage to continue that counts.”
Leesburg resident Mike Jones, who stood in the crowd, said he wasn’t surprised when he saw the results come in. “Honestly, I expected it. I like her, but I heard from people in both parties who were disgruntled with her.” He acknowledged that Comstock tried hard to walk a fine line between distancing herself from President Donald J. Trump when many of her constituents are politically moderate, but not going so far as to alienate her Republican base. “She tried to balance it and it didn’t work in her favor,” Jones said.
Asked what she would do now, Comstock said she promised her granddaughter that she would take her to Disney World no matter the election results. “So, we’re going to Disney World.”
Kaine Easily Holds On
Virginia voters overwhelmingly re-elected Democrat Tim Kaine, who won 57 percent of the vote over Prince William County Chairman Corey Stewart and Libertarian Matt Waters. The former Richmond mayor, Virginia governor and vice presidential hopeful will serve a second six-year term.
The race offered voters a stark contrast. Kaine was Democrat Hillary Clinton’s running mate in her bid for the presidency and Stewart was the Virginia co-chairman for Trump’s campaign. Stewart tied his campaign tightly to President Donald J. Trump, who lost the state to Hillary Clinton in his 2016 campaign. And on the campaign trail, both repeatedly reminded voters of the others’ allegiance to those controversial party leaders.
The result was the sixth consecutive loss for Republicans in statewide campaigns. Next year, all 140 seats in the General Assembly, where Republicans control the House and Senate, will be on the ballot. In Loudoun, Kaine landed 63 percent of the vote to Stewart’s 35 percent.
Even though Loudouners have swayed between supporting Republicans and Democrats, they have repeatedly backed Kaine’s campaigns. The majority of Loudoun voters favored him in his run for governor in 2005 and in his run for U.S. Senate in 2012—plus opted for the Clinton-Kaine presidential ticket over the Trump-Pence ticket in 2016.
Burk Wins Re-election in Leesburg
In Leesburg, incumbent Mayor Kelly Burk has a commanding lead over her two challengers. She has 56 percent of the vote to Tom Dunn’s 26 percent and Ron Campbell’s 14 percent.
In the Leesburg Town Council race, incumbent Marty Martinez is the top vote-getter at 17 percent, followed by Neil Steinberg with 15.s percent and Vice Mayor Suzanne Fox with 15 percent. In fourth place, incumbent Vanessa Maddox is at risk of being bounced from her seat; she has 13.8 percent of the vote. Kari Nacy, the only candidate on the Leesburg ballot making her first bid for office, trails with 12.3 percent of the vote. The top three vote getters will serve four-year terms beginning Jan. 1.
In the special election to fill a vacant seat on the Middleburg Town Council, Chris Benard leads Kurt Abenschein 51 percent to 39 percent.