A court-mandated redraw of Virginia's congressional map could have sweeping implications for the delegation — including the new member representing the competitive 10th District, Rep.-elect Barbara Comstock, a Republican.
A judge tossed Virginia's congressional map in October, ruling the lines drawn in 2012 unconstitutionally packed black voters into the 3rd District held by Rep. Robert C. Scott, D-Va. State lawmakers must draw and pass a new map by April 2015, meanwhile the delegation's eight GOP members have appealed the ruling to the Supreme Court.
Even slight shifts could alter the 10th District — which includes parts of Fairfax, Prince William and Loudoun counties. GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney carried the district by a slim 1-point margin in 2012, while President Barack Obama carried it by a 3-point margin in 2008.
Comstock handily defeated her Democratic opponent , Fairfax County Supervisor John Foust, to win the open seat in 2014. It was left vacant when her former boss, GOP Rep. Frank R. Wolf, retired.
But a new congressional map could either make Comstock's seat safe for the foreseeable future, or make the district more competitive by including more Democrats from Fairfax County.
Currently, the 10th District is one of the most expensive in the country to run a House campaign because it's located in the prohibitively expensive Washington, D.C., media market. Even under the new lines, it's extremely unlikely that will change.
Editor's Note: Over the two weeks, Roll Call will unveil its Top 10 Races to Watch for 2016. The final edition will run Jan. 2 with the full list. In no specific order, additional races to watch in 2016 include California Senate, Illinois Senate, Nevada Senate, North Carolina Senate, Pennsylvania Senate, Florida's 2nd District, New Hampshire's 1st District and New York's 11th District Related Stories: Exclusive: NRCC Chairman Reveals Top Targets for 2016 Members Rush to Recruit Freshmen to Softball Team Why Freshman Week Is a Lot Like College Orientation The 114th: CQ Roll Call's Guide to the New Congress Get breaking news alerts and more from Roll Call in your inbox or on your iPhone.