More than $13 million in outside spending was poured into Republican Congresswoman Barbara Comstock’s Virginia district, in the suburbs just outside Washington, D.C. Democratic challenger LuAnn Bennett has tried for months to yoke Comstock to Trump in this well-educated, affluent area, which has one of the highest median incomes anywhere in the state. And despite Democratic hopes that it might flip, that strategy didn’t pan out. Comstock carried the district handily tonight, with around 54 percent of the vote.
This is bad news for Democrats hoping to wrest similar districts from the Republicans later this evening—the Minnesota 3rd, for example, where state senator Terri Bonoff is challenging sitting Republican Erik Paulsen in the Minneapolis suburbs, or the Nevada 3rd, where Democratic software developer Jacky Rosen hopes to best Republican Danny Tarkanian in the southern Las Vegas suburbs.
We knew that one of the biggest factors at work in this election was education: The most well-educated districts voted for Clinton, the least for Trump. But the fact that Comstock was able to hang on to her district, even as it looks like Clinton will eke out a victory in Virginia as a whole, suggests that these suburban districts are unlikely to become Democratic strongholds anytime soon.