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State Senator Set to Challenge Comstock in Virginia's 10th District

Steve Helber / AP

The next congressional election may be a year and a half away, but now is the time when candidates are throwing their hats into the ring. One particular announcement this week is already scrambling the 2018 race.

Democratic State Senator Jennifer Wexton will challenge incumbent Republican Congresswoman Barbara Comstock next year. Wexton’s entry into the race puts that particular seat in the national spotlight. Virginia’s 10th congressional district is one of the few in the country where a Republican won the House but Hillary Clinton won at the top of the ticket. Robert Denton at Virginia Tech says candidates in this race could pull in as much as $40 million.

“I think this has the potential of being certainly among the top congressional races across the nation, but certainly in the Commonwealth of Virginia," he said. "Number one because it is very much a swing district and number two it’s certainly targeted by the Democrats. They want it a great deal.”

But Jeremy Mayer at George Mason University says Democrats should not underestimate the incumbent.

“Comstock has done very well managing the Trump problem," says Mayer. "She won the district while Trump lost it, and she faced a number of turning points and decisions where I think she played it just about as well as it could be played.”

Nevertheless, Democrats are eager to challenge her. Wexton is the fourth Democrat to jump into the Democratic primary for the seat.