- - Tuesday, November 8, 2016

In one of the most competitive races in the greater Washington area, Republican Rep. Barbara Comstock won re-election over Democratic real estate executive LuAnn Bennett in Virginia’s 10th Congressional District.

With 177 of 208 precincts reporting, or 85 percent, Mrs. Comstock had 154,398 votes (55 percent), and Ms. Bennett had 127,791 votes (45 percent).

Virginia’s 10th Congressional District stretches from across the northern part of the state and includes Loudoun, Frederick and Clark counties, as well as the cities of Manassas and Winchester — a longtime Republican stronghold that voted for Democrat Barack Obama in 2008 and 2012.

Mrs. Comstock easily won her first election in 2014 but saw some trouble this year in what analysts attributed to the effect GOP presidential nominee Donald Trump exerted on down-ballot contests across the country. Some pollsters had called the 10th District race a tossup.

After endorsing Mr. Trump, Mrs. Comstock in recent weeks tried to distance herself from the New York real estate mogul. She even called on him to quit the presidential race after a 2005 “Access Hollywood” recording of Mr. Trump on a hot mic caught him bragging about using his celebrity to force himself upon women.

Jackie Stephens, 69, a retiree from Ashburn said she was put off by Mrs. Comstock’s late move to repudiate Mr. Trump.

Comstock can’t just change horses in the middle of the race,” said Ms. Stephens, who voted for Ms. Bennett. “It was ‘I’m for him until it hurts me to be for him.”’

But G.H. Qamar Baloch, a retired linguist also from Ashburn, said he voted for Mrs. Comstock and Hillary Clinton for president, adding that party politics aren’t especially important to him.

Ms. Bennett, who owns a D.C. real estate company, had trailed Mrs. Comstock during much of the race. But in a Democratic poll last month, she took a 4-percentage-point lead over the incumbent.

In her freshman term on Capitol Hill, Mrs. Comstock emerged as a rising Republican star, and secured a subcommittee chairmanship on the House Science Committee.

Before that she had served as a congressional staffer and a member of the Virginia State House.

“You know me,” she told the Northern Virginia Chamber of Commerce at a debate last month. “My opponent has had little involvement in the Virginia business community or the issues driving our diverse innovation economy.”

Republicans are counting on those ties to win the race.

“I’m confident that Barbara Comstock is headed back to Congress,” said John Whitbeck, who chairs the Republican Party of Virginia. “She has a great record of public service to the 10th District. People in her district know there’s no better advocate for them on Capitol Hill.”

Democrats, however, say in a presidential election year with higher turnout and anger at Mr. Trump, Ms. Bennett will defeat Mrs. Comstock.

“My opponent just recently said she can no longer support the candidate Donald Trump,” Ms. Bennett said at the debate. “Unfortunately, she continues to support his agenda.”

Elsewhere in Virginia, Democrats are expected to pick up a seat after the 4th Congressional District was redrawn by a judge’s order. Democratic state Sen. A. Donald McEachin won that race with 55 percent of the vote.

Two Republican incumbents are retiring, but both of their seats are expected to stay in GOP hands. The closer of the two races is for Virginia’s 5th District, which stretches from the state’s southern border all the way up to the outer Washington, D.C. suburbs.

Mrs. Comstock had raised more than $4.3 million for her campaign as of Oct. 20, and had about $910,000 on hand. Ms. Bennett had raised about $2.1 million and had just shy of $83,000 on hand at the end of the same period.

Outside groups have also combined to spend a total of more than $8.3 million on the race, according to the Virginia Public Access Project, with conservative groups slightly outspending liberal ones.

“There’s a ton of money pouring into the district on both sides,” Mr. Kondik said. “Looming over all of this is the fact that suburban districts like VA-10 are vital to any future Democratic House majority. So this is a district Democrats need to win and keep to make the House math work nationally.”

David Sherfinski contributed to this article, which is based in part on wire service reports.


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