Comstock and Murphy spar for 34th District House of Delegates seat
Click on the shaded areas in the map above to see 2011 election results for the 34th District voting precincts located in Loudoun County. Darker shades of green are areas where Barbara Comstock won more of the vote, and the lighter areas are where she took less of the vote. The two boxes to the right are Absentee Voting and Provisional Voting.
2013 Elections: House of Delegates 34th District
On Election Day, voters in the 34th House of Delegates district will have a choice between two women, both of whom have significant ties to the community and a history on Capitol Hill. Barbara Comstock is seeking her second term representing part of the Loudoun delegation and her third term overall.
Before being redistricted in 2011, Virginia’s 34th did not include any sections of Loudoun County. The district includes the Fairfax communities of Great Falls and parts of McLean, Vienna and northeastern Sterling, as well as the Cascades and Lowes Island of Loudoun.
In 2009 first-time candidate Comstock won election by less than a 1 percent margin against Margaret G. Vanderhye, and most recently in 2011 she beat Pamela Danner by more than 2,000 votes.
This time around Comstock faces Kathleen Murphy, the president of a McLean-based consultant firm.
The district itself is neither strongly Democrat or Republican. In last year’s presidential race, the 34th District split the vote evenly between Obama and Romney, each garnering 49 percent of the vote. Tim Kaine won the district in his successful U.S. Senate race, but the district went for Bob McDonnell 57-43 over Creigh Deeds in the 2009 gubernatorial race.
McLean, is a consultant with Comstock Strategies, a firm she helped found.
She believes the key issues will be education, transportation and business and technological development.
When it comes to transportation in the 34th District, Comstock says widening Route 7 is the main concern of her constituency.
An opponent of the 2011 Virginia Transportation Infrastructure Fund and Bank bill, she still believes transportation is at Northern Virginia's forefront for problems.
Comstock said her opposition to the bill stemmed mostly from what she saw as a double tax on Northern Virginians, whereby additional funds were raised for projects related to the area.
Education is an area where Comstock pointed out that she would like to see changes. Her main issues are with school overcrowding and the need to add an all-day kindergarten program.
Comstock started the Arts Caucus, something she believes will help bring in business leaders.
According to Comstock, when she visits with constituency, the most common concern is jobs. She mentioned that sequestration hit her constituency particularly hard.
According to the Virginia Public Access Project. Comstock has outraised her opponent Kathleen Murphy by more than $330,000.
Comstock worked with Congressman Frank Wolf in the early 1990s and was highly placed in the Romney presidential campaign in 2012. She has raised all three of her children in Virginia with her husband Chip, a vice principal at Oakton High School.
It took her awhile to answer the call.
“The thing that made me decide was really looking at Comstock’s voting record,” said Murphy. “It’s just so clear that she tells one story here, and votes a different way in Richmond.”
Murphy is the president of Johnson, Murphy and Associates, a McLean consulting firm. This is her first political race as a candidate.
In 1999 and 2000, she worked with Al Gore's presidential campaign and was a supporter of Comstock's prior opponents, Vanderhye and Danner.
Murphy describes some of the legislation Comstock has voted for as “a punitive attack on women.”
“Why does the Republican Party, who so wants small government, not want it for women?” said Murphy.
Preventing gun violence is another key issue for Murphy. It has a personal meaning to her as well. Murphy's brother was killed by two men with a handgun in Arizona 11 years ago.
Murphy clarified her position on guns by saying, “It’s not gun control, it is preventing gun violence and it’s gun safety.”
She wants to find ways to keep the gun violence down by expanding funding to help people with mental health issues and expand background checks for gun sales.
Murphy also believes ethics reform will be an important issue for the state in light of recent spending improprieties in Virginia.
“Gifts to your family members have to be reported,” she said.
Murphy currently lives with her husband Bill Sudow in McLean. She has four children.
This story has been updated from an earlier version.