John Foust, the Democrat looking to succeed the retiring Republican Congressman Frank Wolf, introduced himself to a small group of Loudoun voters Monday by bullet-pointing his positions on health care, entitlements, climate change and investments in infrastructure and education.
A six-year Fairfax County supervisor, Foust has hit the trail with force in early 2014 in hopes of establishing name-recognition among a district that hasn't voted in a Democrat since 1978.
The Affordable Care Act, which Foust supports, promises to be a key topic in the 10th District race, as do hot-button social views on gay marriage and women's health care; all those issues provide sharply opposing views between Foust and the Republicans vying for their party's nomination.
Republicans will select their 10th District nominee April 26 through a party canvass. Among the candidates for the GOP nod are state Dels. Barbara Comstock and Bob Marshall and past 10th Congressional District GOP Chairman Howie Lind.
While Foust offered light praise for Congressman Wolf, expressing “there are a lot of nice things” he can say about the 30-year incumbent, the Democrat fundamentally disagrees with Wolf on a host of issues, notable LGBT equality and equal pay for women, he said.
“Discrimination should be eliminated from our society. The more diverse we become – and we see it in Northern Virginia – the better we become,” he said.
"I want to deal with our fiscal challenges, I know we can't have a massive debt that continues to grow on into the future," Foust continued. "But we need to focus on investments and growing our economy – that's the most effective way to deal with a deficit in my opinion. We need to invest in job creators like infrastructure, education, research and development. We need to deal with climate change.”
The Democrat was encouraged by one supporter “not to run away from" the Affordable Care Act, or Obamacare.
“[The Affordable Care Act] clearly is a good thing," Foust said. "The rollout was bad, and if there are issues with the act, then we should [fix them]. But fundamentally, the Affordable Care Act took our health care decisions away from insurance companies.”
One audience member asked Foust about campaign financing, to which he responded it's essentially a tricky issue. Foust expressed an understanding for how campaign financing limits can be viewed as inhibiting free speech, but there should be some reasonable limits, he said.
The McCutcheon v. Federal Election Commission Supreme Court ruling earlier this month determined campaign financing limits infringe on First Amendment rights.
“Now that I'm in the middle of it, it's crazy the amount of money you have to raise for a congressional campaign,” Foust said. Then you have all the independent expenditures, the Koch brothers and all those guys, who have unlimited money basically.”
The Democrat raised more than $217,000 and held nearly $210,000 cash on hand at the close of the fourth quarter of 2013, according to his campaign.
On the Second Amendment, Foust was quick to note he's a gun owner, but he favors more stringent limitations on acquiring a firearm, including closing the so-called “gun show loophole.”
“I think there's a lot more we can do. We should start with universal background checks. That, to me, is almost a no-brainer. I can't believe that we can't agree that we should check whether someone's a criminal or a serious threat to society before we sell them a gun,” he said.
The Ashby Ponds retirement community has historically had some of the highest turnout among Loudoun County precincts. Del. Comstock, the Republican front-runner, will speak at the campus Friday morning, two days after the final Republican primary debate.
Virginia’s 10th District is rated "Lean Republican" by Rothenberg Political Report/Roll Call.