Del. Barbara Comstock, R-McLean, moved a step closer to winning the GOP nomination for Virginia’s 10th Congressional District this week, the seat from which Republican U.S. Rep. Frank Wolf recently said he would step down, when state Sen. Dick Black withdrew from the race.
Black, a Leesburg Republican, said he decided to withdraw after discussing the matter with Republican Caucus leaders about the balance of power in the state Senate. Despite a 20-20 split, Democrats will have control of the General Assembly's upper chamber once two recent special elections are confirmed because Democratic Lt. Gov. Ralph Northam casts tie-breaking votes.
Black said the party did not want to risk slipping further behind in the Senate and appeared to suggest he might have made a different decision if Republican John Whitbeck had won a special election in Senate District 33 this week. But Whitbeck lost to Democrat Jennifer Wexton.
“I had hoped that John Whitbeck would win the 33rd Senate race,” Black said in a statement released to The Bull Elephant blog on Wednesday. “For the first time in years, the Democrats control The Governor’s mansion, the Lt. Governor’s seat, and the Attorney General’s office. Now, more than ever, we need strong, conservative voices in the senate to protect the Commonwealth from the Democrat’s left wing agenda, and to prevent the expansion of Medicaid from going forward.”
Black's state Senate district covers a significant portion of central and western Loudoun County, including Ashburn.
Republican Party of Virginia Chairman Pat Mullins commended Black for “putting his Commonwealth first.”
"It is all too rare in politics these days to find someone who will make the hard choice,” Mullins said. "He made the tough choice, and I can't tell you how proud and thankful I am that he has done so. Thank you, Dick, for making the hard choice. I'm more proud than ever to call you my friend."
The move leaves Comstock facing only Frederick County Board of Supervisors Chairman Richard C. Shickle for the Republican nomination, according to HuffPost Politics. Meanwhile three Democrats are vying for that party’s nomination: Fairfax County Supervisor John Foust; Richard Bolger, a small business owner and attorney Fairfax; and Leesburg architect Sam Kubba.
Comstock's campaign also announced the support of a large number of former Wolf staffers this week.