April 8, 2018
The Republican Standard
“She has headwinds….but she has defied the odds in every election she has been in,” said Dan Scandling, a former top aide to Frank Wolf, the 17-term Republican congressman from VA-10. Incumbent Barbara Comstock, who won the district after Wolf retired in 2015, is now relying on her previous encounters with political battles to see her victorious in a third consecutive term in the U.S. House of Representatives.
The political district now has the national spotlight. As the Democrats fight to win back control of Congress, VA-10 is considered to be a weathervane of the national political landscape in the midterm elections.
All 435 seats in Congress are up for reelection in 2018. The New York Timesreports that only about 48 of those seats are considered competitive. To pull back the majority in the House, Democrats will need to flip 24 Republican seats while holding their current 194. Out of the seats that are highly-contested, 25 were carried by Hillary Clinton in the 2016 presidential election.
In such a nationally-tempered political environment, Democrats have been tempted to focus on President Trump as their means to reclaim VA-10. However, that will not be enough to send Virginia’s Iron Lady packing her bags.
Comstock is renowned for her political acumen and relentless work ethic. During her time in Congress, she has fought through harsh rhetoric and national duress to focus on local issues to provide betterment for her constituents.
The veteran Republican dedicated the majority of the 2017-2018 session articulating transportation legislation in effort to bring reform to the Metro transit system that serves the Northern Virginia-Washington, D.C. metro area. She unveiled the legislation in December, though it has yet to emerge from committee in the House.
As for Comstock’s transportation credentials, Democrats may call out her previous vote against Metro funding when she served as delegate in Virginia’s General Assembly in the early 2010’s. Even though Democrats made that an opposition issue in Comstock’s first campaign for Congress in 2014, which she won anyways.
In the 1990’s, as a former congressional staffer, she was an integral part of the Republican-led investigation into the sexual provocativeness, perjury, and obstruction of justice of President Bill Clinton. Her time on the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform during Clinton’s second term as chief investigative counsel and senior counsel was developmental. She was chief counsel for Indiana Republican Congressman Dan Burton, who used the committee’s investigative powers as a political battering ram against Clinton.
During that time, Comstock worked with David Bossie, whose anti-establishment, anti-Democrat fervor made him a prime pick for a top spot on Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign. Another key Comstock colleague on the committee was Tim Griffin, now the lieutenant governor of Arkansas, who she recruited as her deputy on the 2000 presidential campaign to help her conduct opposition research at the Republican National Committee (RNC) against then-Democratic nominee Al Gore.
Furthermore, on the frontline of the battle for women’s rights and sexual harassment and assault accusations from members of Congress, Comstock has worked tirelessly to implement reforms in Washington that has made her enemies even within her own party.
“She has gained enemies in her own caucus, particularly Republican men who are worried about being outed for being louts, men who abused staff, pressured women, [and] made unwanted advances,” said Mark Corallo, who worked with Comstock at the Justice Department under President George W. Bush. “She thinks we need to clean house,” he said according to a report from Yahoo.
Even though some of her battles have involved President Trump, a mark in which she saw some backlash from her most conservative supporters, her message is clear in the fact that all politics is local. As federal workers pack the eastern portion of her district in Fairfax and Loudoun County, her public confrontation with Trump over a government shutdown was a significant win for her.
When Trump said he would “love” to see the government shutdown, Comstockvehemently disagreed. “We don’t need a government shutdown on this. I think both sides have learned that a government shutdown was bad,” she said.
“When you think of company towns, well, guess what the company is? It’s the federal government,” said Scandling.
Democratic attacks on Comstock will be stifled if the economy remains in an uptick for the remainder of the year. Although the left’s attempt at tying her to negative PR the president has suffered, her vote for the Tax Cut and Jobs Acthas inarguably worked for the American people and her constituents.
In the fundraising game, she is leading the pack. By the end of 2017, she racked up $2 million after raising $5.3 million for her 2016 campaign. The only VA-10 Democrat to come close to her is Alison Friedman, who has raised a vast majority over her $1 million from Hollywood elitists.
Although the Democrats are fierce in their opposition to a proven member of Congress, the privately acknowledge that Comstock cannot be underestimated. Her backbone of iron and political intelligence that has seen her well through tough political times will act as a bulwark against her lumpen opposition.