Real estate executive LuAnn Bennett announced her candidacy against Virginia GOP Rep. Barbara Comstock Thursday.
"We need a voice that speaks up for affordable access to health care, for women and for every family, not one bent on taking it away," Bennett said in a three-minute announcement video . The Democrat, who has never held elected office before, is the third ex-wife of former Virginia Rep. James P. Moran.
“She would be a phenomenal member of Congress. She’s extremely intelligent and she’s been a successful businesswoman,” Moran told Roll Call in October.
Bennett's political connections and her ability to raise money, Democrats say, will make her a formidable opponent to Comstock, who raised $294,000 in the third quarter and has more than a million dollars in the bank.
Despite winning her seat by 16 points in 2014, Comstock is on the National Republican Congressional Committee's Patriot Program for vulnerable members because the 1oth District has been a swing district at the presidential level. President Barack Obama carried the district by 3 points in 2008, while Mitt Romney carried it by 1 point in 2012.
Democrats hope that a presidential year will boost their fortunes and have pointed to GOP losses in Northern Virginia during this year's local and legislative actions as a sign that demographics will be working in their favor.
Republicans have been hitting Bennett for not living in the district.
"Maybe if LuAnn Bennett actually lived in Virginia she would realize what the Democrats’ failed recruits already do — Barbara Comstock represents her district well and will be re-elected next November," NRCC spokesman Chris Pack said Thursday.
But Bennett told The Washington Post that she has moved to McLean, which is in the district, and is now renting out her Washington, D.C., apartment.
It now appears, however, that the 10th District will not be affected by a redraw of the map — if it goes forward — and that the most significant changes would be to GOP Rep. Randy Forbes' 4th District .