WaPo Endorses State Senator Jennifer Wexton in VA Dem Primary

Jennifer Wexton / Twitter

The Washington Post on Wednesday endorsed state Senator Jennifer Wexton as the "best qualified" Democratic candidate to face off against Rep. Barbara Comstock (R., Va.) in the general election for Virginia’s 10th Congressional District.

The Post's editorial board endorsed Wexton not only because they believe she is the "best qualified," but because they think she will be able to "chip away at partisan gridlock in Washington." Wexton, who represents parts of Loudoun and Fairfax counties, was the only former prosecutor and female lawyer among Democrats in the General Assembly when she was first elected in the 2014 special election.

The endorsement praised Wexton for being "noticeably successful" in enacting substantive bills and earning bipartisan respect from members of the legislature.

The 40 or so measures she has pushed into law include legislation that makes online pedophiles easier to prosecute; empowers victims of revenge porn by allowing them to file lawsuits; regulates day-care centers; eases access to medication that prevents deaths from opioid overdoses; and codifies a woman’s right to breast-feed in public.

It’s ironic that Ms. Wexton, who used to make her living by putting criminals behind bars, has been attacked by some of her primary rivals for her alleged waffling on gun safety — apostasy in a Democratic primary. She is criticized for supporting a deal, struck by then-Gov. Terry McAuliffe, a Democrat, with the National Rifle Association, that forces domestic abusers to relinquish their firearms or face felony charges. It also encourages voluntary background checks by state troopers at gun shows, an option used by private gun sellers with increasing frequency since the massacre at a high school in Parkland, Fla., in February.

Those are victories for gun-control advocates and in line with Ms. Wexton’s general record in favor of bills to enhance gun safety. The price of those gains was that Virginia agreed to recognize the right to carry concealed arms for visitors from nearly all states that issue concealed-handgun permits; and Virginians with permits are granted reciprocal rights when they travel out of state.

The editorial board concluded by saying there was a lot to admire in Wexton's Democratic opponents, but they believe there is only one choice in the race, noting her accomplishments and ability to stay "true to progressive values."

Some of Wexton's Democratic opponents have called her out for not pledging to forgo corporate donations. They argued a nominee who has not pledged to refuse corporate money will not create enough of a contrast with Comstock to win a general election.

One of those opponents, U.S. Army veteran Dan Helmer, released a campaign ad on Wednesday comparing President Donald Trump to former al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden.

"After 9/11, the greatest threat to our democracy lived in a cave," Helmer said over images of the al-Qaeda leader. "Today, he lives in the White House."

Other top Democratic primary candidates include former federal prosecutor Paul Pelletier and former Obama administration official Lindsey Davis Stover. The Democratic primary election is June 12.