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Candidates surface in race to succeed Comstock in Virginia House

Following Republican Barbara Comstock's lopsided defeat of Democrat John Foust in Tuesday's election for the U.S. House, local Republicans and Democrats are right back in campaign mode in an effort secure the soon-to-be-vacant Virginia House seat left from Comstock's win. Here's where things stand to replace her.

What and when: In order to fill the congresswoman-elect's seat in the Virginia House of Delegates, a special election for the Virginia 34th House District will be called either by the House speaker or the governor, depending on when Comstock formally resigns and whether the General Assembly is in session when that happens. (Technically, the state legislators are still in session as they continue work relating to local judgeships and the budget.) On Thursday, a Comstock spokesperson said it wasn't immediately known when Comstock would resign her statehouse seat.

Prior to the special election, each party will select their nominees through either a “firehouse primary” or state-run primary. The Republicans have set a “firehouse primary” for Nov. 15, while Democrats are still discussing when their nominating event will be held.

Candidates: On the GOP side, McLean's Craig Parisot has been actively campaigning for the seat in anticipation of a Comstock win. Parisot is the chief executive of Aperio International, a management consulting firm, and a former captain in the Air Force.

For the Democrats, a familiar face is widely expected to throw her hat in the the ring -- Kathleen Murphy. Murphy contested Comstock in the 2013 House of Delegates race and lost by just one percentage point, something that positions her well for a special election bid. Murphy is the president of Johnson, Murphy and Associates, a McLean consulting firm.

The 2013 House contest was Murphy's first bid for public office, and Parisot said he's making his first run with the forthcoming special.

The Times-Mirror will roll-out additional coverage of Murphy and Parisot and any others who announce candidacies in the weeks ahead.

Forecast: Given the 2013 House race, the special election is likely to be a tight battle. But with a special election and one that's likely to come sometime in December or January, the outcome will boil down to who can turn out the base. Perhaps the best insight into what kind of turnout the race will see, one can look to a special Virginia General Assembly election last January to fill the seat of former state senator and current Attorney General Mark Herring. In that election, voter turnout came to around 19 percent, as Democrat Jennifer Wexton topped John Whitbeck.

The 34th District is based 70 percent in Fairfax and 30 percent in Loudoun and a true swing district. Beyond the 2013 nail-biting election between Comstock and Murphy, Barack Obama and Mitt Romney split the 34th District vote in 2012 with each securing 18,688 votes.

Impact: Regardless of the outcome in the 34th special, Virginia's 100-member House of Delegates will remain comfortably in Republican hands by a roughly 2-1 margin.

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She is a better looking version of the Mark Warner school of baloney moderates.

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