Voters in Virginia's 10th Congressional District can expect to hear plenty more about the conservative Koch brothers, House Speaker John Boehner, the liberal Nancy Pelosi and anti-tax zealot Grover Norquist before the November election.
Not to mention a little thing called Obamacare.
With state Del. Barbara Comstock's April 26 victory in the 10th District Republicans' “firehouse” primary, the stage is set for what many prognosticators are predicting will be a tight and multi-million-dollar congressional race between Comstock and Democrat John Foust, a Fairfax County supervisor.
The seat comes open this cycle with the retirement of three-decade incumbent U.S. Rep. Frank Wolf (R).
In the GOP primary, the front-runner Comstock took more than 7,300 votes out of the 13,000 ballots cast. Her closest challenge came from state Del. Bob Marshall, who garnered more than 3,800 votes.
Less than 48 hours after Comstock's win, the Foust campaign sent out a fundraising email decrying Comstock a soldier of the far right.
“We can’t allow her Tea Party agenda to represent us in Congress,” the Foust email said. “But, it’s up to us to help John fight back and win. Remember, Comstock is the same candidate the Washington Post just wrote a scorching editorial about – even calling her 'sycophant' to Rush Limbaugh.”
The Foust memo was referring to Comstock's vote for then-Sen. Barack Obama in the 2008 Democratic presidential primary. Comstock said the vote for Obama was an attempt, led by Limbaugh, to throw the Democratic operation out of whack – hence Limbaugh calling the effort “Operation Chaos.”
For her part, Comstock too was quick to shift attention to her opponent.
“Now is the time for all Republicans to unite and pool our resources together to defend this seat from Nancy Pelosi’s hand-picked candidate,” Comstock said in her victory statement April 26. “The election in November will be about my plans to get the economy growing again, creating jobs, and repealing and replacing Obamacare. Congress is in desperate need of problem solvers and I intend to use my common sense principles to better the lives of my constituents.”
A former adviser to presidential candidate Mitt Romney and past legislative staffer for Wolf, Comstock is likely to focus her campaign around her strong support of right-to-work laws and her legislative efforts to spur business growth.
Comstock's conservative stances on women's health and the Second Amendment are sure to be brought up by Foust in his attempt to frame the Republican as "outside the mainstream."
In Loudoun County in early April, Foust called out Comstock for her support of conservative Grover Norquist and his anti-tax group, Americans for Tax Reform. The third-term Republican delegate is one of hundreds of signers of Norquist's Taxpayer Protection Pledge to never raise taxes under any circumstances.
Both Comstock and Foust will be well-funded going into November, with outside interest groups donating handsomely on both sides. According to the Virginia Public Access Project, Comstock had raised $761,000 and held $520,000 cash on hand as of April 6, and Foust raked in more than $775,000 and held $626,500 as of March 31.
While Virginia's 10th Congressional District still leans Republican, according to the Rothenberg Political Report/Roll Call, the district has shifted somewhat purple in recent years. Democrat Tim Kaine took 51 percent of the vote in the district in his 2012 Senate race, and Mitt Romney just slightly defeated President Barack Obama in the 10th that year.