Important congressional elections are happening nationwide this fall, including two particularly significant ones in northern Virginia. In Virginia’s Senate race, we have a race between a Trump-endorsed conservative and Hillary Clinton’s former running mate. In the 10th congressional district race, a moderate Republican congresswoman is facing off against a self-professed liberal who believes that northern Virginia is moving left. Needless to say, the result of the 2018 elections will have a decisive impact on Virginia’s representation in Congress, and students and staff alike would do well to pay attention.
In Virginia’s Senate election, incumbent democratic Senator Tim Kaine is running for a second term in office. Kaine began his political career with the Richmond city council, winning his first election in 1994. He began rising through the ranks shortly thereafter, becoming mayor of Richmond in 1998, Lieutenant Governor in 2002, and Virginia’s Governor in 2006. During all four years of his governorship, Virginia was rated the best state for business by Forbes magazine. After his term as Governor ended in 2010, Kaine took a short break from politics before narrowly winning a seat in the US Senate in 2012. More recently, Hillary Clinton chose Sen. Kaine as her Vice Presidential candidate in the 2016 election. Before the election, Kaine had never lost a bid for elected office.
His most prominent opponent is Corey Stewart, republican nominee and current chairman of the Prince William County board of supervisors. Stewart has served as county supervisor since 2002, and ran unsuccessfully for governor last year. He narrowly defeated Nick Freitas in the republican primary this year, and has positioned himself as a major ally of President Trump. Stewart has reached a degree of fame for his focus on deporting illegal immigrants from Prince William County, and for supporting Confederate monuments throughout the commonwealth (Senator Kaine generally opposes both of these points).
Currently, Senator Kaine is leading 51.3% to 32.0% in the average poll (according to Real Clear Politics), and all major election prediction websites agree that Kaine is likely to win. The election could still go either way, however, and even an individual vote could be critical.
At a more local level, Virginia’s 10th Congressional is experiencing a very contentious election this year. Incumbent republican representative Barbara Comstock has represented northern Virginia in congress for four years, winning each of her two terms by a fairly narrow margin. This year, she is facing a serious challenge from two term state senator Jennifer Wexton, a liberal rising star who hopes to be the first democrat elected to congress from the 10th district since the 1970s. A poll conducted by Monmouth in June found Wexton leading 50% to 41% in the race, a surprisingly large lead in this traditionally republican district, especially considering that Comstock is a self described “independent voice” and moderate. This limited polling means nothing conclusively, but shows that Rep. Comstock is far from guaranteed to win reelection. The result of this election may determine which party controls the House of Representatives, and may be decided by a very small number of votes.
Fairfax High School’s school district also includes part of Virginia’s 11th congressional district. In this district, democratic Rep. Gerry Connolly is running for a 6th term in office against republican Jeff Dove, a veteran and businessman. Although Mr. Dove is running a serious campaign, the race has received minimal attention, and no polling has been done. This is because the 11th district is an exceptionally left-leaning one (giving Hillary Clinton 66% of the vote to President Trump’s 27%), and Connolly is expected to win by a large margin. Even with the noncompetitive nature of this race, students would still do well to pay attention to the election, and vote whichever way expresses their views better.
Considering the importance of the aforementioned elections, and the major differences between most of the candidates, all students who are eligible to vote should look into the elections further, and make a plan to vote on election day, November 6th. Below is crucial election information regarding the impending election.
Election Day Information
Date: November 6th
Voter Age Requirement: 18
Voter Registration Deadline: October 15th (if you are 17 but turn 18 before the election, you can register now)
If you live in Fairfax County, visit fairfaxcounty.gov/elections/precincts for information on voting locations
If you live in Fairfax City, visit fairfaxva.gov/government/voter-registration/how-to-vote/city-polling- locations for information on voting locations