Democrat runs against Comstock in 10th

LuAnn Bennett

Democrats have found at least one candidate to challenge U.S. Rep. Barbara Comstock, R-McLean, in the 10th Congressional District in 2016.

LuAnn Bennett, a real estate businesswoman, has launched her candidacy with a promise to “choose solutions over partisanship.”

“Like many Northern Virginians, I’m frustrated with the lack of results and gridlock in Congress,” Bennett said in a written statement. “When you run a small business, you work with whomever you need to in order to get results.”

Bennett, 62, of McLean, is president and owner of the Bennett Group, a real estate development, construction and property management firm in Washington, D.C.

Her past government experience includes former Gov. Tim Kaine’s appointment of her in 2008 to the Climate Change Commission for the Commonwealth of Virginia. She has also been a member of the Virginia Health Care Foundation and Charity Works Advisory Board, and she currently serves on the board of the Institute for Sustainable Communities.

“One of the things I’ve learned along the way is that in challenging times you can always find opportunities,” Bennett said in announcing her candidacy. “With families across Northern Virginia facing uncertain economic times and real concerns about our safety and security in the world – this district needs a representative who will choose solutions over partisanship.”

Comstock won election to Congress in 2014 after stints as a member of the House of Delegates and on the staff of former Republican U.S. Rep. Frank Wolf, whose retirement created an open seat.

The district runs from the West Virginia border eastward through the Winchester area and parts of Loudoun, Fairfax and Prince William counties.

Wolf, who had held the seat since the 1980s, was an easy winner in his re-election campaigns, but Democratic candidates have narrowly prevailed in some recent statewide and presidential contests in the 10th district.

Democratic strategists had high hopes for taking Wolf’s seat, but Comstock crushed John Foust, 56 percent to 40 percent.

Stephanie Vaughan, head of the Winchester-Frederick County Democratic Committee, said her party is already planning an event in February with Bennett as the keynote speaker.

“We are thrilled to have LuAnn Bennett as our Democratic candidate for the 10th Congressional District of Virginia,” Vaughan said in an email statement.

In the neighboring 6th Congressional District, Tony Dorrell, chairman of the Shenandoah County Democratic Committee, said his party is still looking for a candidate to take on U.S. Rep. Bob Goodlatte, R-Roanoke, in 2016.

“I guess the answer is we don’t know,” Dorrell said of the party’s prospects against Goodlatte. “I know we don’t have anybody for sure, and I don’t know of any interest.”

Contact staff writer Joe Beck at 540-465-5137 ext. 142, or jbeck@nvdaily.com