Dem 51
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GOP 49
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Wexton Is Out

This is sad news, regardless of one's partisan preferences. Rep. Jennifer Wexton (D-VA) has decided to bring her political career to an end once her current term is up. This is not what she wants to do, but an initial diagnosis of Parkinson's Disease (somewhat manageable) has been changed to a diagnosis of progressive supranuclear palsy (much less manageable). PSP generally results in severe disability within 3-5 years of the onset of symptoms, so you can understand why another 2 years on top of the roughly 1½ left in Wexton's current term does not sound like a smart plan.

Truth be told, Wexton would be entirely justified in stepping down right now, but that's not her style. She made clear in a statement yesterday that she planned to finish what she started, and then, once her term is complete, to "spend my valued time with [my husband] Andrew, our boys, and my friends and loved ones." When the Representative departs, the House will lose one of its most outspoken Democrats, particularly when it comes to criticism of Donald Trump and support for trans rights.

Needless to say, right now is not the time for upwardly mobile Democratic politicians to express interest in the seat; that would be borderline ghoulish. Undoubtedly, there will eventually be a spirited primary contest to represent her D+6 district (VA-10), but for now the state's Democrats are rallying around Wexton, paying tribute to her career in public service, and expressing hope that her health holds for as long as is possible. Obviously, we share those sentiments, and wish Wexton the best. (Z)

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