Ret. Air Force Gen. John Douglass (D) announced Tuesday he is challenging Rep. Frank Wolf (R) in Virginia’s exurban 10th district.
Douglass, who is also a former head of the Aerospace Industries Association of America, was assistant Navy secretary under President Bill Clinton in the mid-1990s and served as a senior staff member to the Senate Armed Services Committee from 1992 to 1995. In the early 1980s under President Ronald Reagan he was director of defense programs for the National Security Council.
“I’ve served my country in one capacity for over thirty years and now know there is another public service challenge that I’m ready to take on,” Douglass said in a statement. “Politicians in Washington like Frank Wolf have been given a free pass for too long — it’s time to have an independent voice that really represents the people of Virginia’s 10th district.”
Douglass is from Hume — which at the moment is located in the heart of the district that runs west from Washington, D.C., to the West Virginia border and includes the state’s Northern border.
Until the state Legislature reconvenes later this month to tackle Congressional redistricting, it is unknown what the district will look like next year. One potential plan would scrape out some of its Democratic-leaning areas closest to the capital.
In its current make-up, however, the district includes Dulles International Airport and is packed with federal workers who face long commutes into Washington. Wolf has represented some form of the district since 1980, and since 1984 he has never been re-elected with less than 57 percent of the vote.
It has been a swing district in statewide elections, and has often gone the way of the state as a whole. In the last two gubernatorial races, it gave eventual winners Bob McDonnell (R) 61 percent of the vote and Tim Kaine (D) 50 percent.
President Barack Obama won the district in 2008 with 53 percent, and President George W. Bush won it four years earlier with 55 percent of the vote.
Democrats hope Douglass can have similar success to another former Reagan official who defeated a Senator who appeared to be an entrenched Republican incumbent in 2006 — Sen. Jim Webb (D).
“At this critical time, we need someone who has a proven record of standing up, taking on the tough fights, and winning them,” Douglass said. “I’ve served this nation for over three decades and have the proven-leadership needed to tackle the complex challenges we face this century.”
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., carries a musket on stage as he speaks during the American Conservative Union's Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) at National Harbor, Md., on Thursday March 6, 2014.