Why are “establishment Republicans” in Virginia flocking to Barbara Comstock?EconomicsNorthern VirginiaPolicyPoliticsVirginia

Delegate Barbara Comstock is the new darling of the amorphous grouping known as the “establishment Republicans” in Virginia (the name largely given them by folks who want to make clear they are not part of said group).

If you ask me – and what do you mean you didn’t? – it’s a strange pairing. All throughout 2013, the “establishment” pushed – and pushed hard – for Bob McDonnell’s tax increase. They leaned on Republicans; they dangled a path to Medicaid expansion in front of Democrats to win them over; they leaned so hard on Ken Cuccinelli that he tried supporting and opposing it at the same time. They made it clear that they would tolerate no opposition.

Yet today, they are rallying behind Comstock, who is the only Fairfax County Republican who consistently voted against that tax hike.

Now, there are many of us in Virginia who are convinced that said tax hike did the party in last year.

Could it be that the “establishment” is actually listening, if only quietly? I can hope.

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

    I’m supporting Barbara because she’s the best candidate for the job.

    That I don’t agree with her vote on the Transportation Bill is beside the point. I’m not going to hold policy disagreements or ideological differences against a candidate unless those differences are so extreme as to make me question the candidates ability to do the job.

    Nobody in this race now, nobody talking about getting in this race, and nobody who was in and gotten out of this race is as qualified as Barbara, and none of them work as hard as she does. She’s earned this nomination and that’s why she’s going to get it.

  • MD Russ

    Interest theory, D. J. if so many establishment Republicans are quietly regretting the Transportation Plan, then why is the approval rating of the Tea Party at an all-time low of 22%, according to the Gallup Poll? I would think that Tea Party support would be swelling.

    • DJRippert

      And … how did Bob McDonnell, architect of the transportation plan, enjoy a 55% favorability rating until the deepening scandal around Star Scientific finally brought that rating down. Did his favorability rating plunge in the immediate aftermath of the transportation deal?

      Last year, Democratic candidate Kathleen Murphy ran a weak campaign against Comstock and nearly beat Comstock. I can assure you that John Foust won’t make the same mistakes that Kathleen Murphy made. Foust will fry Comstock over that “no” vote on the transportation deal in the heavily populated Fairfax County and eastern Loudoun districts. Will Comstock have enough strength elsewhere to overcome this? Maybe. Maybe not. However, she’d better win the race for House of Representatives because, after this election, she is very unlikely to get re-elected to the House of Delegates.

      • Jax

        Your 2013 Comstock vs. Murphy analysis is missing a key fact: T-Mac was at the top of the ticket. T-Mac and his trickle-down money were the biggest vote magnets for Murphy.

        • DJRippert

          That would be a key fact if it were true. VPAP.Org tracks campaign donations and expenditures. Comstock spent $1.3M in calendar 2013, Murphy spent $661K. In other words, Comstock outspent Murphy by 2:1 and still barely won. Someday I’ll understand why people think Barbara Comstock is such a great campaigner.

          As a side note, both candidates made donations to their respective political parties during the campaign. However, for whatever reason, Murphy donated more to the Democratic Party than Comstock donated to the Republican Party.

          Why did the lesser funded challenger donate more of her limited cash back to the party than the better funded incumbent? Beats me. Maybe Brian S has some perspective.

          • Jax

            Are you not taking into consideration the liberal PACs that spent money to defeat Comstock?
            Money aside, having to deal with T-Mac at the top of the ticket and Cuccinelli (who was very unpopular in her HOD district) would strain any GOP campaign. The reason why Comstock campaigns well is because she knows how to espouse conservatism with being confrontational (e.g. Marshall).

          • DJRippert

            That’s the trouble with PACs – you never really know. However, the campaign spending gap of around $700,000 in favor of Comstock would have required a lot of PAC money to even out.

            I live in the 34th and, as far as I know, so does McAuliffe. If he doesn’t live in the district he lives very close. In 2013 the 34th went 52% for McAuliffe, 42% for Cuccinelli and 4% other. In other words, Cuccinelli ran about 3% behind his state-wide average in the 34th. The precincts in Fairfax and the precincts in Loudoun in the 34th came out at the same percentages (although the Loudoun precincts contain less than half the votes of the Fairfax precincts).

            However, Cuccinelli only took 36% of the vote across Fairfax County and 45% of Loudoun. So, the Fairfax precincts in the 34th were considerably more pro-Cuccinelli than the county as a whole while the Loudoun precincts were less pro-Cuccinelli than that county as a whole. However, “other” played a bigger role in Loudoun and McAuliffe only ran about 1.5% better in the Loudoun precincts than he ran in the county overall.

            Unfortunately for your “Cuccinelli caused it” theory, in 2009 Fairfax County was +1.5% for McDonnell while the state was +17%. Fairfax was 15.5% less pro-McDonnell. In 2013, Fairfax was 36% for Cuccinelli while the state was 45%. Fairfax was 9% less pro-Cuccinelli. In 2009, Loudoun was +22% for McDonell so Loudoun ran more Republican than the state overall.

            Redistricting makes tracking back the 2009 election too cumbersome at the precinct or HoD district level.

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

            Not all of the spending in that district is accounted for on the VPAP records. Murphy got $200k+ through DPVA that won’t show up there.

            The donating back to the party is for mailers.

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

        Murphy did not run a weak campaign. She raised almost $1 million, had Bloomberg and a bunch of folks dumping ads into that district and you had McAuliffe and the rest of their ticket and a solid, coordinated Democratic ground game that didn’t exist on the Republican side.

        If John tries to go after Barbara on the no vote on transportation, that will sink him in the western parts of the district that don’t consider themselves part of Northern Virginia. And, frankly, most folks in Fairfax (other than the business community) don’t care. Besides, he work with the tech industry and her otherwise stellar record there will overcome that.

        Unless the 34th District changes drastically in the next two years, which is unlikely, Barbara would have no problems winning that seat. The Democrats have come after her every single election with credible candidates and she’s beaten them by working harder and smarter. She has nothing to worry about there.

        But it doesn’t matter, because she will be the next Representative from the 10th.

  • Jax

    The simplest reason to support Comstock is because she is the only Republican candidate who can realistically win a VA-10 general election. Anyone who thinks Bob Marshall can win in the general needs to crawl out of their time capsule and take notice of Virginia’s blue trend.

    • MD Russ

      Agree. If the 10th CD was limited to western Loudoun, Prince William, and beyond, Bob would have a shot. But since they gerrymandered the district eastward all the way to McLean, Bob doesn’t stand a chance in the general.

  • RINOs Last Stand

    Until Comstock wins the endorsement of the Fauquier and Fairfax Free Citizen, I will not support her. Just another RINO.