Local Commentary

Editorial: We Endorse Bennett, Beyer & Connolly

Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump has engineered a deep rift in his own party and is defiant in his resolve to make his enemies pay, both inside his own party and out. His Democratic rival Hillary Clinton will go to jail if he’s elected, he insists, and he boasts that all the restraints of civility have been lifted from his behavior between now and election day, and beyond. We don’t even want to guess what kinds of voter fraud charges and incites to rebellion might attend what is looking like it will be an electoral blow-out for Hillary.

In Northern Virginia this election, there is only one “down ballot” effect of all this, and that is in the 10th U.S. Congressional District just to the west of the City of Falls Church that ranges from McLean right next door way out to spaces deep within Loudoun County. The reason this district has remained in Republican hands until now is primarily due to the adept, respected and bipartisan leadership of long-time GOP Congressman Frank Wolf. The district used to represent the City of Falls Church, but in the redistricting that was done in 1991 it was moved out of the City and in 2001 and 2011, deal making in Richmond made it a solid GOP district in exchange for conceding the 11th District more solidly Democratic.

But in the 10th, along with demographic shifts bringing more ethnic and economic diversity to the entire region, the GOP lock has begun to weaken, and now, thanks to Donald Trump, runs the distinct risk of cracking entirely.

For the Democrats, it helps that their candidate is not the kind you run when you have only a marginal chance of winning. With a lot of her own money and a personality that makes people want to back her, LuAnn Bennett could, and should in our view, be the Democrat who finally steals the 10th District away from a Trump-led GOP that is now represented in the 10th by Barbara Comstock.

Comstock has recently distanced herself from Trump, but it is relevant to ask what took her so long. Only the most egregious excesses by Trump, the revelations of his predilections for sexual assault, caused Comstock to openly break with Trump, obviously worried for her re-election chances.

We look forward to the sight of LuAnn Bennett locking arms with the Democratic incumbents who are her neighbors that we also enthusiastically endorse, Don Beyer in the 8th (that includes the City of Falls Church) and Gerry Connolly in the 11th, when the results come in on Tuesday November 8.

That will make a big difference not only as the Democrats, nationally, pound on the door of the majorities in both the U.S. Senate and House, but as the campaigns are initiated to fill the vacancy in the U.S. Senate that the elevation of Tim Kaine to vice president and for governor of the Commonwealth next year.