I was able to attend the most recent candidate forum in eastern Loudoun this past Wednesday so I could see and hear for myself the 6 candidates for Representative of the Virginia 10th Congressional District. The candidates are Steve Hollingshead, Howie Lind, Barbara Comstock, Mark Savitt, Rob Wasinger, and Bob Marshall. (That’s the order of seating at the forum and, I’m told, the order of their filing to run for the office, in case you’re interested.) When I go to events like this, there’s more to it than listening to the candidates talk about their positions. It’s a matter of listening to that, yes, because it’s important, but it’s how they say it and how they dedicate their precious speaking time to the tasks at hand. Getting that complete sense is very instructive.
When I walked into the auditorium, I really only knew much about 3 of the 6 candidates. Barbara Comstock is my Delegate to the General Assembly in Virginia. I’ve watched her votes during her term and I’ve listened to her speak so I’m pretty familiar with her. Bob Marshall is also a Delegate in the General Assembly and his tenacity and willingness to get into a political fistfight where warranted makes it easy to know where he’s coming from. While I don’t know his record as well as Mrs. Comstock’s, I am pretty familiar with his stance on matters. Finally, Howie Lind was the former chairman of the 10th Congressional District Committee. I’ve been on his mailing list for, literally, years so I’ve gotten to read his positions on a wide variety of matters.
The other 3 were names I barely recognized so I was there to get a first impression of them.
Mr. Hollingshead’s position that Washington is broken, that they spend too much, and that they exceed their authority on all manner of things is something I can agree with wholeheartedly. He says he can fix it. Or, rather, he got around to saying it after spending the opening remarks time he had pretty much accusing Barbara Comstock of abuse of power and of being a GOP-establishment puppet. His immediate launch into a negative, mudslinging harangue was instantly off-putting and he continued to toss little barbs into his commentary. I understand that when you’re miles behind in a race and hope is dwindling that you’ll sometimes attempt to score some digs in an effort to shore up some support but the decision has consequences. One of those is to be written off by people like me.
Mr. Savitt’s approach of being concerned with job creation, energy development, and reigning in the federal government to operate within its Constitutionally-specified authority is one that resonates with conservatives like me. He rose to the bait of Mr. Hollingshead’s attempt to belittle his profession, however, and sent him down a negative path as well. I found myself liking Mr. Savitt, and I certainly like his positions. But he comes across as inexperienced in running a campaign or running for office. And, in truth, he is inexperienced – this is his 1st attempt, if I’m reading right. Perhaps he would benefit from running for a local office first and then attempting to step up to the federal campaign. In his delivery and in his focus, I just don’t see someone that can win in the general election.
As for Mr. Wasinger… I have never – not a single time in my life – sat out an election. Given the appalling display Mr. Wasinger made during that forum, I would give serious consideration to not casting a vote in that race come November if he were the nominee. Mr. Wasinger used his opening remarks to quite literally accuse Mrs. Comstock of exploiting hurricane Katrina survivors and taking kickbacks to steer cushy government contracts to her supporters. I’ll be writing about this bit of garbage in another post, but suffice it to say that his delivery, his outright hostility toward a fellow Republican, and the hackneyed, devoid-of-details slurry of campaign tripe coming out of his mouth makes supporting him completely impossible for anyone serious about winning this seat in November.
Mrs. Comstock knows that the policies of this Administration are disastrous and she opposes them. She knows that Obamacare needs to be repealed and is committed to working toward that end. She knows that taxes are too high, that spending is too high. She knows that in terms of our economy and our foreign policy that energy development is a vastly underutilized weapon in our arsenal. It would strengthen our position in the world if we’re not as reliant on energy sources abroad. It offers us the chance to extend that strength to our allies, keeping them from being forced to make deals with nations that don’t share our values. And, to multiply those effects, it would provide the boost to our economy to finally bring a recovery back to America and improve the life situations of all Americans. She gets it – unlike our current delegation over in the Senate – and she would work hard to get the federal government out of Virginia’s way in developing our natural resources.
Mr. Marshall impressed me at the forum and improved his position in my personal leaderboard. Mr. Lind’s positions have always been compatible with mine and I can see supporting either of them, easily, should they secure the nomination. But positions alone are not sufficient to win. You also need a proven track record in the electorate in question. While Mr. Marshall’s record on that score is impressive, when you weigh in all of the factors – positions, experience, electoral rapport – Mrs. Comstock is simply the best candidate in the running. That’s why I’m supporting her for Congress and that’s why I think you should, too.
More to come. Stay tuned.