Identifying and analyzing emerging trends in campaigns and elections.

Frank Wolf Faces Opposition; A New House Vacancy

In House on December 13, 2013 at 10:24 am

Veteran Virginia Rep. Frank Wolf (R), who is preparing to run for his 18th term in the House, has now drawn a potentially strong re-election opponent. Fairfax County Supervisor John Foust (D) announced earlier this week that he will challenge the veteran congressman. Though the 10th District is drawn as a discernible Republican seat, Democrats pin their hopes on the facts that Virginia is politically transitioning their way, and that President Obama only lost CD-10 to GOP nominee Mitt Romney by just one point, 49-50 percent. The president carried the state 51-47 percent.

Foust represents the County’s Dranesville District, which begins in the McLean area, runs through Great Falls, and then wraps around to annex the community of Herndon. Supervisor Foust was first elected to the local Board in 2007 and was re-elected with 61 percent of the vote in 2011. He is one of 10 members on the local panel, nine from districts in addition to one Board chairman who is elected county-wide. Foust’s district houses over 77,000 voters, but not all fall into the 10th Congressional District.

Rep. Wolf scored a 58 percent re-election victory a year ago as voter turnout soared to more than 366,000. In the Republican landslide year of 2010, Wolf’s re-election percentage exceeded 63 percent with 208,000+ individuals casting ballots.

It remains to be seen if Foust can mount a serious challenge in a mid-term election year. Rep. Wolf, the entrenched incumbent, begins as the clear favorite for 2014 so it will take a strong combination of major fundraising and favorable polling data to bring this campaign into the competitive realm. The “Likely Republican” rating for Wolf’s district continues, though Foust is likely the toughest candidate the congressman has faced in many a year.

NC-12 Vacancy

Months ago, President Obama nominated Rep. Mel Watt (D-NC-12) to be the Federal Housing Finance Agency director. This week, thanks to the change in Senate rules that broke the logjam on nominations, the North Carolina congressman was confirmed for the position. Therefore, his Charlotte-anchored 12th Congressional District seat will soon head to a special election.

Anticipating the eventual open seat, many politicians had already announced their intention to run, and it is a heavyweight class of Democrats. CD-12 is an African-American majority seat, and safely Democratic. So far, no Republican has indicated an interest in running.

State Sen. Malcolm Graham leads the group of legislators already declaring their candidacies. State representatives Alma Adams, Marcus Brandon, Beverly Earle and Rodney Moore are also in the race. So is former local school board chairman George Battle III, and ex-Charlotte City Councilman James Mitchel. Attorney Curtis Osborne is the only candidate not previously serving in elected office. All but Rep. Adams, who hails from Greensboro, are from the Charlotte-Mecklenburg County area.

Gov. Pat McCrory (R) will set the special election timetable soon after Watt officially resigns from the House.

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