Campaigning

Trump factor makes Virginia Republican top target for Dems trying to flip House

Peter Doocy

President Trump’s promise to “drain the swamp” didn’t play too well in a place where nearly a fifth of the working population has a job with the federal government.

This is Virginia’s 10th Congressional District – and Trump lost it by nearly 10 percent.

Democrats now see the district’s House seat as a prime pick-up opportunity in next year’s midterms, after incumbent Republican Rep. Barbara Comstock managed to win re-election in 2016.

“I think that Virginia 10 is definitely a seat that we can take,” Kimberly Adams, a longtime educator and Democratic hopeful, told Fox News. “There has been more activity in this district than ever before.”

The Northern Virginia district’s proximity to the Capitol is something that will cast a long shadow on this contest, according to another Democratic hopeful, Army veteran Dan Helmer.

“Our district will be the first to feel it if our government continues to fail in the same way it’s been failing in America recently,” Helmer told Fox News.

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Helmer is one of dozens of military veterans being recruited to run as Democratic candidates across the country ahead of the 2018 midterms, in which Democratic leaders are hoping to flip the House.

“This is about having a patriot, who’s put service before self, who is going to be able to go and talk about what Barbara Comstock has done,” Helmer said. “About how she’s been part of the broken, attack, polarization politics that have dominated our country.”

Comstock’s relationship with the commander-in-chief is complicated.

The two-term incumbent called candidate Trump “vile” in October 2016 and said she wouldn’t vote for him.

She also voted against the GOP’s ObamaCare replacement bill in the House in the spring.

Still, Democratic challengers are seeking to convince constituents that Comstock is too cozy with Trump.

“She tried to distance herself from Trump the candidate,” Adams said. “And I think we saw, since Trump has been in office, she has voted more than 90 percent of the time lock step with the president.”

That health care vote in the spring motivated at least one

Republican to attempt a primary challenge of Comstock.

Shak Hill, an Air Force veteran and financial planner, said his family recently lost insurance coverage because of ObamaCare. Now, he’s mounting a campaign because he sees her vote against the American Health Care Act as a betrayal of conservative constituents.

“She has lied to us,” Hill told Fox News. “Our family lost our insurance and my wife has a pre-existing condition. She’s a cancer survivor. So when Barbara voted to keep ObamaCare, it was a moral failure.”

In a written statement, Comstock listed “improving health care solutions” as one of her priorities after the August recess. Tackling the opioid epidemic and the area’s MS-13 gang problem are also mentioned in the statement.

Comstock cancelled a scheduled interview with Fox News ahead of a visit to the district.
 

Peter Doocy is currently a Washington D.C.-based correspondent for FOX News Channel (FNC).  He joined the network in 2009 as a general assignment reporter based in the New York bureau.