Del. Barbara Comstock (R-34) and Frederick County Board of Supervisors chairman Richard C. Shickle saw the field narrowed this week in the race for the Republican nomination for Virginia’s 10th Congressional District – a seat from which Rep. Frank Wolf recently said he would step down – when state Sen. Dick Black (R-13) withdrew from the race.
Black said his announcement came after a discussion with Virginia’s Republican Caucus and that the decision was based on the balance of power in the state senate. Democrats will have control of state Senate despite a 20-20 split, once two recent special elections are confirmed, because Lt. Gov. Ralph Northam is a tie-breaking vote.
Black said the party did not want to risk slipping even further behind in that house, and appeared to suggest he might have made a different decision if Republican John Whitbeck had one the 33rd Senate District special election. 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, including Ashburn.
The chairman of the Republican Party of Virginia 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,” said RPV chairman Pat Mullins. "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 two Republicans in the race: Comstock and Shickle. 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.
Also on Wednesday, a large number of former Wolf staffers threw their support behind Comstock.
[Correction: An earlier version of this story did not identify Frederick County Board of Supervisors chairman Richard C. Shickle as a Republican candidate in the race.]