It’s fascinating to watch what’s been going on in Virginia’s 10th Congressional District, where Rep. Frank Wolf is retiring after many, many, many years in office (the last few of which have been focused on the non-scandal of Benghazeeeeeeeeeeeeeee!). As recently as a few weeks ago, it looked like it would be a coronation, essentially, for Republican “attack dog,” Del. Barbara Comstock, while Democrats might fight it out in a tough contest between highly popular and respected Fairfax County Board member John Foust and Shenandoah University Professor Karen Schultz. Well, what a difference a few weeks makes! A few items since then.
1. Washington Post reporter Ben Pershing tweeted on Wednesday that “In email, Karen Schultz publicly confirms she’s not running for #VA10 Dem nod.” That makes it extremely likely Foust will be the Democratic nominee, that the party will be united heading into the General Election, and that we’ll have our best shot in many years to take back this “swing” (“purple”) Congressional district.
2. Meanwhile, on the Republican/Tea Party side, it’s gotten a lot more entertaining – popcorn please! – as former 11th CD GOP Congressional nominee Keith Fimian has endorsed Del. Bob Marshall over Barbara Comstock (and apparently signed on as Marshall’s finance chair – Fimian says “I’m confident that Bob can win the 10th Congressional District. I intend to help him raise the funds to attain that objective.”), taking a bunch of hard shots at the latter, such as:
*”We don’t need more Republicans in Congress who have spent careers inside the beltway in government, lobbying and politics.”
*”We don’t need more Republicans in Congress who will promise one thing on the campaign trail or take a few good votes at the state or local level in order to climb the political ladder.”
*”We don’t need more Republicans in Congress who will vote with John Boehner over the interests of the people they serve in order to secure a leadership position.”
Ouch – the truth hurts! Fimian adds that he’s “proud to announce that I will serve on Bob Marshall’s Finance Committee.” Again, lots more popcorn is in order. 🙂
3. Comstock has basically been shut out in Richmond, with almost every one of the bills she’s patroned being “continued” until 2015, “left” in committee, or otherwide deep-sixed.
4. Marshall has gotten a lot of positive publicity and kudos among far right wingnuts for his strident defense of Virginia’s anti-LGBT-marriage amendment (which he co-authored). While crazy from a non-homophobe’s perspective, this kind of stuff could play VERY well among the hard-core electorate likely to vote in a Republican “firehouse primary,” which is how the 10th CD will select its 2014 nominee for Congress.
5. The Comstock vs. Marshall fight has already prompted one blog war in the Virginia right-o-sphere (between supporters of the two main Republican candidates for the 10th CD GOP nomination, with accusations of payola being thrown around), with likely more to come. Gotta love it. 🙂
Bottom line: Comstock remains the odds-on favorite for the nomination, mainly because she has access to large sums of money from connections she made in the George W. Bush administration, as well as work she did for Tom DeLay, for Dick Cheney’s pal “Scooter” Libby, and for Willard “Mitt” Romney. Still, Marshall has a shot, and if nothing else he could force the already right-wing Comstock even further into the far-right-wing fever swamps, while distracting her for several months and making her spend money to fight off his challenge. For Democrats, it certainly will be fun to watch. Meanwhile, a strong Democratic nominee – John Foust, almost certainly – will await whoever emerges from the Teapublican meat grinder.