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Jennifer Wexton defeats Barbara Comstock in Virginia House race

November 7, 2018

Democratic state Sen. Jennifer Wexton defeated Republican Rep. Barbara Comstock Tuesday in one of the most expensive and closely watched congressional races in the country, giving Democrats a key pick-up in their bid to re-take control of the House.

Networks called the race for Ms. Wexton about 50 minutes after polls closed at 7 p.m. She led Ms. Comstock by a 59 percent to 41 percent margin, with about 61 percent of precincts reporting.

Election forecasters had given the edge to Ms. Wexton heading into Election Day, though Ms. Comstock had expressed confidence, saying Democrats and pundits consistently underestimate her.

Ms. Comstock, a lawyer and former top Capitol Hill staffer, appeared to do everything she could to win a third term in the 10th Congressional District, out-raising her opponent and standing up to President Trump at times to win over her Northern Virginia constituents.

She attacked her opponent as too left-wing for the district, which spans from wealthy Washington suburbs such as McLean to rural territory near the West Virginia border. And while she backed Mr. Trump’s push for tax cuts and increased military spending, she warned the president to his face against shutting down the government, citing federal employees in her district who would be harmed.

Yet Ms. Wexton, a state senator and former prosecutor, relentlessly tied the incumbent to the president and his caustic style, with Democrats even dubbing her Barbara “Trumpstock.”

And she got a high-profile boost from former President Barack Obama, who crossed the Potomac from his D.C. abode to hand out doughnuts and give a pep talk to Wexton supporters Monday.

Ms. Wexton criticized the tax overhaul that Ms. Comstock praised, saying it was tilted toward the rich and shouldn’t have gutted Obamacare’s “individual mandate” that fines people without health insurance.

The Democrat, who voted in the state legislature to expand Medicaid in Virginia, also focused on health care, saying universal coverage should be Congress’ goal.

She turned the GOP’s push to repeal and replace Obamacare on its head by saying she planned to “repeal and replace” Ms. Comstock.

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