The Northern Virginia House race to replace long-serving Rep. Frank Wolf is fast turning into a mini-2016 presidential primary, with Republican candidate Barbara Comstock attracting top potential presidential candidates to help and her foe using surrogates of Bill and Hillary Clinton.
Comstock, a Virginia state House delegate, revealed that both Rep. Paul Ryan and Sen. Marco Rubio, two likely 2016 candidates, are hosting events for her. She previously said that Mitt Romney, the 2012 GOP nominee who is toying with yet another bid, is also coming to NoVa to help.
Rubio is hosting a “dinner and dessert reception” Sept. 23 in suburban McLean. It should raise more than $80,000 for her race against Democrat John Foust in one of the nation’s most expensive and closely watched House races.
"We are thrilled to have Sen. Marco Rubio headlining a reception in September. Sen. Rubio is a leader and voice for freedom and opportunity in our party and we are honored to have him support Barbara's campaign,” Comstock spokeswoman Johanna Persing told Secrets.
“We are continuing to gain momentum each day and with upcoming events with Gov. Mitt Romney, Congressman Paul Ryan and now Sen. Rubio, we will have a great team of supporters as we head into the final weeks of the campaign,” she added.
Comstock also won the easy endorsement of Wolf, for whom she once worked. The campaign has just posted a new ad from Wolf praising Comstock.
Foust, meanwhile, has lined up the support of former Clinton aides including former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright and Paul Begala. He recently blasted Comstock’s prior investigation of Clinton scandals as a “really almost sick, sort of stalker-like obsession with President Clinton.”
That comment led some Republicans to suggest sexism was at play, a feeling reinforced when Foust, a member of the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors, said of Comstock, “I don’t think she’s even had a real job.”
The race in the 10th District is very close, though Republicans sound confident that the Republican-leaning district will elect Comstock.
“I’d still rather be Comstock than Foust but this is going to be very expensive and competitive,” said veteran Virginia race watcher Kyle Kondik of the University of Virginia Center for Politics.
And, he added, keeping the seat is key for the GOP as northern Virginia’s demographics change. “Certainly it’d be disappointing for the Republicans to lose a district that tilts R in an R-leaning year, because it would be harder to dislodge Foust in 2016,” he told Secrets.Paul Bedard, the Washington Examiner's "Washington Secrets" columnist, can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org. Virginia's 10th Congressional District (map via GovTrack.us)