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Sign of confidence? Democrats drop ad buy in Va. congressional race

Republican incumbent Barbara Comstock faces a challenge from Democratic state Sen. Jennifer Wexton in Virginia's 10th Congressional District. (Getty/AP)

WASHINGTON — A political action committee that backs Democrats across the country has canceled an $800,000 ad purchase for Virginia’s 10th Congressional District race, indicating the party is growing more confident that Democratic challenger Jennifer Wexton can unseat Rep. Barbara Comstock, R-Va.

Both candidates have filled the airwaves with ads throughout a hard-fought campaign in northern Virginia that’s getting national attention.

House Majority PAC had originally planned to purchase broadcast time in the final days leading up to Election Day, according to Advertising Analytics, which is based in Virginia.

Polls have indicated Wexton is leading Comstock, though the GOP incumbent’s campaign has cited internal polls, suggesting the race is closer than many political observers believe.

Kyle Kondik, managing editor of Sabato’s Crystal Ball, at the University of Virginia Center for Politics, said Comstock has had an uphill battle defending the seat she’s held since 2014. Part of the reason is due to 2016 election of President Trump, which has energized Democrats in Washington’s suburbs.

“Her party winning made it harder for her to win re-election,” Kondik said in an interview with WTOP. “Voters can take out their anger at the president in only limited ways, and one of them is to vote against their incumbent congress person.”

Kondik said if Hillary Clinton had won the 2016 presidential race, he doubts that Comstock would be in trouble now.

Wexton has tried throughout the campaign to link Comstock to President Trump. Comstock, meanwhile, has emphasized her work on behalf of constituents in her district.

“It’s just a strategy that, while it makes sense, could be difficult to pull off in an unfavorable environment. So that’s the challenge for Comstock,” Kondik said.

While Kondik didn’t discount that Comstock could find “a path to victory,” he said it’s going to be difficult.

“She still might win re-election, but I think it would be a mild surprise to a lot of people if she did,” he said.


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