WASHINGTON — The polls have closed in Virginia, wrapping up a long and nasty campaign for both president and the 10th Congressional District in the D. C. suburbs.
Republican Barbara Comstock faced tough and well-funded opposition from Democrat LuAnn Bennett in the Northern Virginia district that stretches from McLean and Manassas to the Shenandoah Valley. Polls showed the region was backing Hillary Clinton for president over Donald Trump, making the freshman congresswoman’s re-election campaign a tossup and one of the most hotly contested races in the country.
Gov. Terry McAuliffe, a longtime friend and ally of Clinton, predicted that Bennett would win the 10th District. Democrats could also flip two other congressional seats Tuesday — the 4th District, which was redrawn as the result of a court decision, includes parts of Henrico County, Richmond and Petersburg, and the 5th District, which run from Fauquier County through Charlottesville and south to the North Carolina line.
“We could pick up two, if not three, new members of Congress … and go from 8-3 to 6-5, which would truly be historic,” McAuliffe said about the partisan split of the state’s congressional delegation.
However, former Gov. Jim Gilmore told WTOP that Comstock’s incumbency would offset any help Bennett, who has not previously served in elected office, would receive from Clinton supporters.
Turnout was heavy in Fairfax County — the state’s largest jurisdiction — where 80 percent of registered voters had cast a ballot as of 6 p.m., including absentee voters.
However, some voters’ names were not in poll books, but they were able to vote a provisional ballot, according to the state Board of Elections.
And some poll workers in the county were incorrectly asking for driver’s licenses instead of photo identification. No voters were turned away and the poll workers were reminded that other forms of ID are accepted.
Lines were reported at polling locations around the region, however no major problems were reported. Registered voters who were in line by 7 p.m. would be allowed to vote.
Northern Virginia voters were also asked to decide local ballot issues and bond referendums.
In Fairfax County, a 4 percent meals tax was on the ballot. Loudoun County voters were asked whether the county schools system could borrow $233 million to build three more schools and expand six others. Arlington County voters were asked to support a similar school construction bond issue for $139 million.