Frank Wolf RetiresPolitics

The longest-serving member of Virginia’s congressional delegation, Republican Rep. Frank Wolf, is calling it quits after 17 terms:

“I have decided not to seek re-election to the U.S. Congress in 2014. It has been an honor to serve the people of northern Virginia and the Shenandoah Valley. I thank my constituents for giving me the privilege of representing them in Congress for 34 years.

“As a follower of Jesus, I am called to work for justice and reconciliation, and to be an advocate for those who cannot speak for themselves. I plan to focus my future work on human rights and religious freedom – both domestic and international – as well as matters of the culture and the American family. My passion for these issues has been influenced by the examples of President Ronald Reagan, former Congressmen Jack Kemp and Tony Hall, Chuck Colson, and the life of 18th century Member of Parliament William Wilberforce.

“I want to thank the many excellent former and current members of my staff who have helped me serve the people of the 10th District. I am also grateful to my wife, Carolyn, and my family, who have faithfully stood by me all these many years.”

Barbara Comstock, call your office…

  • JWS

    Dan Scandling for Congress!

  • JerseyRed

    The 10th likes a workhorse and won’t stand for a “showboat” candidate. To me, Barbara Comstock strikes a good balance and I’d be personally stunned if she didn’t run.

    In other news, I have it on good authority that all that’s left for Ed Gillespie to do is file. He has absolved/cancelled all contracts effective December 31st and will apparently jump straight in shortly after the new year. Is currently lining up endorsements of grassroots leaders.

    • NormLeahy

      Interesting….

    • MD Russ

      While the 10th CD is reliably Republican, someone from McLean is going to have a tough time campaigning west of US 15 in places like western Loudoun, Clarke, Front Royal, and the I-81 corridor. Those folks tend to look at Fairfax County and the other blue jurisdictions of Northern Virginia with a considerable amount of suspicion (and rightly so, I would say). In fact, the only reason that Comstock is even living in the 10th CD is because Wolf and Gerry Connolly played tradies with several Fairfax precincts to keep the 10th very red and the 11th even bluer.

      • JerseyRed

        I’d agree, but I do think she’s the strongest candidate on paper and is likely going to get first dibs on the seat. I’d love to see Jill Vogel give it a go, but I doubt she will.

      • midwestconservative

        Comstock has a conservative voting record that will resonate with grassroots. Ultimately it’s about record. Cuccinelli was from Fairfax too, but he was never written off as a RINO. Except by the most nutty libertarians.

        • Not Harry F. Byrd

          Comstock is the most geographically balanced candidate – she represents the most “moderate” part of the 10th and was able to hang on in a tough race even as Cooch lost her district pretty decisively (and it wasn’t the district, btw – Obama and Romney fought each other to a near-wash in the 34th HOD. That district has a very particular type of GOP voter).

          She would be better than anyone else I can think of in being palatable to Fairfax while theoretically being able to rack up big margins out west given that on the issues she’s quite conservative (Vince Callahan she is not).

          She can also raise the money and runs hard.

          • midwestconservative

            What is more she’s younger and would be able to hold this district for a while, there’s something to be said about longevity.

          • Not Harry F. Byrd

            Agreed. Hmm would she be the youngest Virginia congresscritter if elected? How old are Hurt and Griffith?

          • midwestconservative

            Hurt’s in his 40s I think. Griffith is older.

      • Nick Bukowski

        Front Royal has not been in the 10th District since 2010. It’s completely in the 6th.

        • MD Russ

          I stand corrected. I moved to the 10th CD this year from the 11th and didn’t realize that Front Royal had moved into the 6th. However, my point remains. The largest portion of the 10th, west of US 15 in Loudoun and beyond is very conservative. Running as a resident of McLean, Comstock will have a tough time convincing many of the voters out here that she isn’t too moderate. In my part of the county, for example, a Bible-thumping anti-tax zealot successfully primaried a respected and long-serving HOD Republican last June simply because he supported his party’s governor on the transportation plan. People out here think that Cucinnelli is slightly right-of-center.

          • Nick Bukowski

            I’m going to have to disagree with you MD Russ. I’m not sure if you’re talking about Bev Sherwood or Joe May being primaried last June but both of them deserved what they got. They both voted for the biggest tax increase in the history of VA (the Transportation Bill). They lost because of their big govt records, not bc of the people of their districts being right-wing. People in this area, thankfully, care more about principles than they do about parties. Comstock voted against that massive tax increase and she is in the heart of the People’s Republic of Northern VA. While I might disagree with her on some things, I would definitely support her over most running for Congress. It takes a lot of courage to vote against that transportation bill when your district is in NoVa. She deserves a lot of credit for that.

          • MD Russ

            I was talking about Joe May.

            You know, Nick, I keep hearing that talking point about “the biggest tax increase in the history of Virginia.” Tell me, who is paying that tax? Sure, there were some nickel and dime incidentals in the transportation plan, but the vast majority of the tax is the sales tax on wholesale fuel distributors. Meanwhile, the cost of gasoline at the pump has decreased about 20% since Governor McDonnell signed the bill, far more than any incidental tax increases to consumers. So, again, who is paying “the biggest tax increase in the history of Virginia?”

          • Nick Bukowski

            MD Russ, WE (the residents of VA) are paying the tax. In order for the State Govt to raise revenue by 5.9 Billion dollars, they have to take that money from people in the private sector, whether they take it bc increasing taxes here or there or increasing fees etc., we are paying for that. This money doesn’t come out of thin air. Do you honestly think that wholesale gas distributors are just going to eat this tax and not pass it on to the consumer? No. That increase in tax increases what you pay at the pump in VA.

            We just had a surplus of over 500 Million in Richmond. Did we really need to raise 6 Billion in taxes to fund transportation, when the money isn’t even guaranteed to go towards transportation? This bill was not a conservative solution to our transportation problems and I hope more of the people who voted for it end up losing their jobs.

          • MD Russ

            Nick,

            As a matter of fact, wholesale distributors are, in fact, just eating this tax and not passing it along to the consumer. If your postulate was correct, then prices at the pump would have gone up instead of down since the transportation plan was passed.

            Gasoline is a commodity. Unlike goods and services that are priced according to the cost of production and delivery, commodities are primarily priced by supply and demand. That is why when gas was over $4 a gallon last year, the price dropped. People stopped using as much gas as they had been and demand dropped. The cost of production of gas did not go down, but suppliers had to lower the price to sell it.

            You anti-tax zealots need to be marched back to the school house and force-fed a course in Economics 101.

          • Nick Bukowski

            Hi MD Russ,

            You have it all wrong. And by the way I have a Bachelors Degree in Economics. If you tax a good (whether you tax the manufacturer/supplier or the consumer) the cost of the good necessarily goes up and the consumption of the good necessarily goes down and you create a deadweight loss within the market of that good. Just because gasoline prices happened to decline, based on other market factors (supply/demand) does not mean we are not paying this tax. Without this tax, there would be 6 Billion more in the private sector. How much of that would belong to wholesale distributors vs consumers of gas, I don’t know, but it doesn’t really matter. It is money earned that is taken out of the private sector and it necessarily has a negative economic impact.

            See here: http://www.investopedia.com/exam-guide/cfa-level-1/microeconomics/tax-effects.asp

          • MD Russ

            Where did you get your Economics degree, Patrick Henry College or Strayer? You should have taken a course in Commodities Trading. I was negotiating to buy a house several years ago and the seller was basing his asking price on what he had paid for it plus a determined return on investment (ROI) percentage for each year he had owned it. I finally walked away from the deal and bought the house next door for about 15% less. You remind me of that seller.

            BTW, a few days later the listing realtor put a shingle on the For Sale sign: “Price Reduced.”

          • Nick Bukowski

            You have not refuted my argument. You have just decided to divert the discussion. Price is determined by the buyers and sellers within a market where they meet at equilibrium, ie: were what someone is willing to pay for something and where someone is willing to sell something for meet equals the price. When you introduce a tax into this market, it necessarily shifts the supply curve and there is a new equilibrium of supply and demand at a higher price. The amount of tax paid for by the buyer and seller of said good is determined by the elasticity of the market, but the tax is shared nonetheless.

            I received my Econ degree from George Mason University. Where’d you learn your economics? The Washington Post?

          • MD Russ

            Yes, I have refuted your argument. You are confusing the difference between pricing goods and services with the pricing of commodities.

            I took Econ courses both in my undergraduate degree and in my masters degree, Macro and Micro. In my masters program I also took a course in Marketing. Pricing was a major portion of the course work. But I guess I didn’t learn much because I was 57 before I could retire.

            Cheers.

          • David Obermark

            You college boys, instead of arguing about who has the better degree, should come out of your sheltered lives and into the real world and see how things really work. All of your “expertise” is based upon what that professor told you. Grin.

          • MD Russ

            I’ve been in “the real world” for over 40 years, David. And that is why I was able to buy a gentleman’s farm and retire before I was 60 years old. I understand how things really work, thank you very much. Grin back at ya.

          • David Obermark

            You evidently don’t know how the transportation bill worked. It actually REDUCED fuel taxes on gasoline and slightly increased the fuel tax on diesel.

            I also know you are retired military, and I suspect you retired as an officer. Am I correct? Don’t get me started on how the enlisted man ends up getting screwed on his retirement compared to you officers.

          • MD Russ

            Gosh, I’m so sorry to hear that the enlisted man gets screwed on his retirement. Why don’t they just get a commission and survive 20+ years of officer efficiency reports and promotion boards? It must be really easy if I did it.

          • David Obermark

            MD,

            On the day the new wholesale tax on fuels went into effect, the tax on gasoline dropped from 17.5 cents per gallon to 11.1 cents (I believe it is adjusted quarterly). The bill did not change how the fuels tax is collected, only how the tax rate is set. It used to be cents per gallon, now it is a percentage of the wholesale price. Wholesale distributors do not “pay” the tax, they just act like collection agents for the government.

            Check out the prices on off road diesel (what farmers use) if you get a chance. Off road diesel is dyed red when it leaves the refinery to show the fuel taxes on it were not collected. When it hits the retail outlet, the price on it will almost always be exactly the amount of the tax cheaper.

          • MD Russ

            Wrong. Again, we are talking about commodities pricing. Off road diesel is priced according to supply and demand. Because there is such a limited demand for it, the supplier must price it lower and not because he isn’t paying the sales tax.

          • David Obermark

            Yeah, and that lower price just happens to almost exactly match the amount of the state fuel tax in every state you travel in. I guess you’ll just claim that is an amazing coincidence or something.

            Now, what you will also notice is that off road diesel is not nearly as available at retail outlets because there is less demand for it. If commercial trucks use it they risk huge fines if they are caught. What they occasionally do is dip truckers’ fuel tanks and test for even trace amounts of red dye. You might have refilled your tanks several times after using it just once, but the test will still come up positive.

            .

          • MD Russ

            The reason the Comstock voted against the transportation plan is because, as another commenter pointed out, she votes according to the RPV ideology and not the wishes of her constituents. I can assure you that the people in Fairfax County were overwhelmingly in favor of the transportation plan.

      • David Skiles

        This statement makes no sense. Barbara has won in her own right in the same precincts that you claim were part of a “trade.” Furthermore, what does “look at with considerable amount of suspicion” mean? They certainly don’t mind the tax dollars we send to Richmond.

        • MD Russ

          I’m sorry, David, I could explain it to you but my powers can only be used for good and never for evil.

  • Clifton Cauthorne

    He has been a dependable voice for religious liberty and Christian values. His witness in Washington will be sorely missed.

  • brianrw

    No great loss – just another BGR.

  • DJRippert

    I have lived in the 10th for the last 10 years. Wolf had a mortal lock on the district. However, that was more a reflection of the man than overall political philosophy.

    Barbara Comstock will face tough sledding in a Congressional race. She barely beat Kathleen Murphy for the HOD seat. Murphy ran a relatively well financed but awkward campaign. While Murphy was fixated on gun control she should have been hammering Comstock on her opposition to the transportation bill. Had Murphy aggressively taken Comstock to task for her opposition to the transportation bill Comstock would be within weeks of being a former House of Delegates member.

    When it comes to choosing between her constituents and the RPV orthodoxy in Richmond Comstock always chooses the orthodoxy.

    I would not consider her a slam dunk by any means.

    • midwestconservative

      Romney carried this district narrowly, but the large Base advantage turnout of 2012 will not be present to help the Democrat beat Comstock.

      • Catherine Stone McNickle

        Cuccinelli narrowly won the 10th too. Comstock’s current district is only 30% Loudoun, the bluest portion of the county. Loudoun is entirely in the 10th, the west is extremely conservative. As is the Clark and Winchester portions of the 10th. This primary election or general will not be determined solely on the FFX County portion as it is balanced against the majority conservative portion. A very delicate balance indeed.

        • midwestconservative

          I think Dems are banking on Warner having another blowout like 08 and carrying whoever runs over the finish line.

          • Fairfax Republican

            I think Gillespie can keep Warner’s numbers down but will have a tough time winning the Senate race. Looking at the ’08 race, Gilmore, an unpopular Governor running against Warner, a popular Governor and the Obama boost, not the same environment in ’14 (And Warner knows it).

          • midwestconservative

            I don’t expect Warner to have 08 numbers, and I also don’t know how much of an “Obama boost” Warner got considering he got 65% of the vote while Obama only got 52%. If anything Warner gave him a boost.
            That being said if the RPV fails to recruit a solid challenger then 08 numbers are possible. If they nominate a sacrificial lamb with no money, people will end up voting Warner for lack of knowledge about his challenger.

          • Not Harry F. Byrd

            Obama got 51.15 ;). Sorry, but that number is etched into my head. I study numbers too much! It was 52.9 in 2008, I believe. Fun fact: 51.15 was the closest of any state to the national average. Sorry, Robert McCartney, but we are a swing state.

            Agree, Warner won’t get 08 numbers unless Dick Black (or like) is the nominee. But there’s another benefit to keeping Warner’s numbers down even if we don’t pull it out: it’s going to be better for our congresscritters (particularly Rigell in Virginia Beach and whoever is the newbie in VA-10) to not have a Democrat at the top of the ticket pulling big margin.

    • Not Harry F. Byrd

      I agree that she’s certainly to the right of what you’d expect for that district. She is probably the most conservative delegate representing a portion of Fairfax County. Still, the fact that she was able to 1) win in 2009 in a rough race against an incumbent delegate under lines that were less favorable than today and 2) hold on this fall despite Cooch being rejected in her house seat speaks pretty well to her ability. The voters don’t agree with her on everything but they seem to have some level of comfort with her.

      Incidentally, WRT her race this fall – she was polling WAY ahead of Murphy until the fall (such that Democrats didn’t believe Murphy had a chance). Her numbers collapsed with the government shutdown. Indeed that probably hurt her margin more than perhaps any other district – even with Cooch losing. So she may be stronger than she looks.

  • http://www.linkedin.com/in/darrelljordanjr D.J. Jordan

    Mr. Wolf was a GREAT compassionate public servant. I like that he wasn’t ashamed to promote human rights and religious freedom.

    • Not Harry F. Byrd

      IMO, Wolf is one of the more underrated congresscritters. I think it’s because he was never a showboat, at least not nationally (I know somewhere DJRippert is thinking “Dulles Toll Road!”). He kept his head down and focused on things he cared about, which were quite honorable issues. And he worked his ass off.

      “Wolf Works” was true. He earned his salary as much as any congressman. NoVA will be worse off without him.

  • Liz Maloney McCoy

    Boom.. Bomb just dropped in NoVa. Let the insanity begin!

  • http://www.brianschoeneman.org/ Brian W. Schoeneman

    This news sent a bolt through the Republicans while we were doing the recount in Fairfax. Needless to say envisioning Northern Virginia without Frank Wolf is almost impossible for most of us. He was a great Congressman and we will miss him.

    • midwestconservative

      I’m mildly surprised he waited this long in the year, maybe to avoid throwing the gubernatorial out of wack.
      I expected him to retire either this cycle or perhaps the next.
      Pete Sessions had to convince him to run again in 2010, so he’s been thinking of retiring for a while.

  • Downstater

    Like the VA GOP hasn’t had enough of this bad year. We need this like a hole in the head. There goes that seat.

    • Fairfax Republican

      I think you are mistaken. It is a great opportunity to bring new blood into the NoVA GOP. There is a great pool of talent that have been waiting for Frank to retire and every potential candidate mentioned has a strong following with the conservative movement. As for the Democrat John Foust, unknown beyond the Fairfax Country line and his creds with Sierra Club, Labor, etc. (http://www.foustforsupervisor.com/) will not help him out in the Western part of the district.

    • midwestconservative

      Cuccinelli carried this district, so in a bad year the GOP still held strong, I doubt things can get any worse in 2014 then what happened in 2013.

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