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Letter: Race to Watch

To the Editor:

Thanks for the well-documented article on the political trends in Virginia's 10th Congressional District ("How Red is the 10th District?" February 19-25, 2014). The conventional wisdom among political prognosticators is that the District leans Republican. However, recent voting patterns suggest that a strong Democratic candidate could be well within striking

distance for a win. Consider the following: first, in the past two

gubernatorial elections, the Republican nominee won the 10th District by only 1 percent. Second, the seat is now open, and retiring Congressman Frank Wolf’s name recognition and constituent service record are not in play.

The front running Republican nominee, Barbara Comstock, spent $1.4 to defend her seat in the Virginia House of Delegates last year, winning with less than 52 percent of the vote. Another candidate for the Republican nomination, longtime Delegate Bob Marshall of Loudoun County, won

re-election by about 400 votes. On the other hand, Fairfax Supervisor John Foust, the likely Democratic nominee for the 10th District Congressional seat, carried every precinct in his contested campaign for re-election in 2011, winning more than 60 percent of the vote.

Democrats are gaining ground in northern Virginia because the issues are working in their favor. Polls show strong support for investing in transportation and education as well as for protecting and expanding access to health care for women and low income workers. The eventual Republican candidate may have a hard time moving away from the Tea Party positions necessary to win the Republican nomination. Extreme positions

on economic and social issues will not play well in the suburban areas of Fairfax and Loudoun counties where 70 percent of 10th District voters reside.

In the end, we may find the 10th District to be a toss-up, despite conventional wisdom.

Sue Rosenberg

Vienna