Democrats notch first House pickup of the night as Jennifer Wexton wins in Virginia

Alexander Nazaryan
National Correspondent

On Monday, there were doughnuts at the Northern Virginia campaign offices of Democratic congressional candidate Jennifer Wexton, with former President Obama paying a surprise visit, bearing glazed treats that, he joked, were approved by his nutrition-conscious wife, Michelle.

Tonight, there might be cake. Wexton has defeated Barbara Comstock, the Republican incumbent, in Virginia’s 10th Congressional District. And though the race was closely watched, it was not especially close, with Wexton projected to win by as many as 14 points. (Incumbent Virginia Sen. Tim Kaine also prevailed, over far-right Republican challenger Corey Stewart, in a victory that was widely expected.)

Wexton’s district became the first wrested by Democrats from Republican control this cycle and, as such, could represent an early sign of a potential “blue wave.” If they are able to flip two dozen seats, Democrats will gain control of the House of Representatives.

Representative-elect Jennifer Wexton, a Democrat from Virginia, center, speaks during an election night rally in Dulles, Virginia, U.S., on Tuesday, Nov. 6, 2018. Wexton defeated two-term Republican incumbent Barbara Comstock, ousting a Republican in a northern Virginia district that was arguably the top target for Democrats in their effort to take back the House majority, according to projections from NBC and CNN. (Photo: Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg via Getty Images)

Virginia’s 10th Congressional District is wealthy and suburban. It has been in Republican control since 1980. However, the northern suburbs of Virginia have become increasingly diverse and left-leaning, along with much of the rest of the state. In 2016, Hillary Clinton won Fairfax, Prince William and Loudoun counties, all of which are partly in the 10th District.

Wexton’s win could indicate a broader exasperation with President Trump and his brand of politics, at least outside the Republican base. In one campaign advertisement, Comstock tried to tie Wexton to MS-13, the criminal gang that is a favorite Trump target. The ad was widely criticized.

Wexton’s campaign, meanwhile, happily tied the Republican incumbent to the historically unpopular Republican president, coming up with a new name for her: “Trumpstock.” Apparently, the nickname stuck.

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