Two Democrats vying for their party’s nomination to challenge Rep. Barbara Comstock (R-Va.) in 2018 have raised a combined $700,000 this quarter, their campaigns said, an early indication that the race could be among the nation’s most expensive.
Alison Kiehl Friedman, an anti-human-trafficking activist, raised more than $400,000 in four weeks, and Lindsey Davis Stover, a veterans affairs expert, raised more than $300,000 in about 10 weeks, their campaigns said.
Both worked in federal agencies during the Obama administration. They declined to release their full finance reports ahead of the July 15 disclosure deadline.
The two women are among seven candidates seeking the Democratic nomination to challenge Comstock, who represents a swing district where Democrats believe they can harness President Trump’s unpopularity to win a House seat.
Although Trump lost the district by 10 points in November, Comstock beat her Democratic challenger by 6 points to win a second term.
The GOP has dismissed talk of Democrats amassing large war chests to challenge Republicans in the Trump era, pointing to Karen Handel’s win in last month’s special House election in Georgia as proof that big money doesn’t translate into a guaranteed win.
“The Democrat raised a record $22 million and still came up short” in the Georgia race, said Maddie Anderson, a spokeswoman for the National Republican Congressional Committee. “Not only is Barbara Comstock a prolific fundraiser, she’s an incredibly effective representative for her constituents, and a formidable opponent to any who cross her.”
Friedman said she has tapped the network of donors associated with the liberal organization, People for the American Way, where she worked early in her career.
“I’m really lucky in that I’ve worked with great people who care a lot about the issues that we’ll be talking about in our campaign,” she said. “There’s a lot of excitement in Northern Virginia, and some real leaders there who helped anchor me.”
Stover said most of her more than 600 donors gave less than $200 each. “So many voters in this district feel like they don’t have a voice in Washington,” she said in a statement. “We need a representative who shares our values and has the courage to stand up to President Trump.”
Both candidates said they had not loaned money to their campaigns.
Comstock has steadily broken with Trump during the campaign and after he took office. She voted against the House health-care bill he championed and opposed his hiring freeze on federal workers and proposed cuts in Chesapeake Bay cleanup funding.
Last week, she spoke out after Trump posted insulting tweets about “Morning Joe” co-host Mika Brzezinski. Responding to White House deputy press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders’ comment that Trump did not go too far in his criticism, Comstock tweeted: “Yes the tweets went too far. Please stop.”
Yet Comstock has avoided open hostility toward Trump, who easily won the rural, western-most counties in her district — areas she cannot afford to alienate. She has appeared by his side for at least two Oval Office bill signings.
In addition to Friedman and Stover, the 10th District Democratic candidates include state Sen. Jennifer Wexton, a former prosecutor from Loudoun County; Dan Helmer, a Rhodes Scholar and an Army veteran; David B. Hanson, a retired Navy intelligence officer from Clifton; and Deep Sran, founder of the Loudoun School for the Gifted. Kimberly Adams, past president of the Fairfax teachers union, said she is planning to run and close to filing her candidacy papers.
The district includes Loudoun County and parts of Fairfax and Prince William counties, as well as Clarke and Frederick counties to the west.