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In irregular format, Comstock visits Loudoun retirement community

Tenth Congressional District candidate Barbara Comstock (R) today drew arguably the largest crowd of this year's political candidate speaking series at the Loudoun County senior community of Ashby Ponds, but some Democrat-leaning locals expressed disappointment residents weren't allowed to openly ask questions.

Supporters of Comtock said the GOP candidate, a three-term state delegate, has previously opened her speaking sessions up to audience question-and-answer forums, and that was good enough for them.

“She came here and spoke just before she got the primary in April, and she told a lot then and had a big discussion and an open forum and everything,” Comstock supporter Barbara Hanson said.

Hanson said she favors Comstock over Democrat John Foust because of Comstock's experience in the Virginia House of Delegates.

Ashby Ponds' candidate speaking series is a Loudoun County staple of election season forums, with candidates from all parties generally addressing residents with an opening speech and then taking questions from the crowd.

Comstock was the first candidate to decline a question-and-answer session, an event organizer said.

“Of all the 60 speakers I've invited over the years that I've been here this is the first person who has wanted to do it this way,” said Shirley Olson, a resident who helps organize the candidate visits. “But that's what she chose, so we accommodated that.”

Another Ashby resident, Carl Hemmer, said he was shocked when he learned there wouldn't be the standard Q&A opportunity.

“I have been an elected official -- a city councilman in Fairfax City for six years in the 70s and 80s -- and I know what it is to run for election and inform your constituents of what you believe, why you believe it, and to hear their views,” Hemmer, who said he has voted for Democrats and Republicans, said. “I think that's a responsibility of any candidate.”

“The advertisement we received said she wasn't going to answer any open questions. I couldn't believe it,” he added. “ ... I'd like to know where she stands at ISIL.”

A Comstock spokesperson, when asked about the altered setup, said her candidate made herself available following her speech.

"We have frequently visited with residents of Ashby Ponds retirement community on a formal and informal basis,” Johanna Persing, the Comstock spokeswoman, said. “Barbara stayed and took any and all questions from any resident or member of the audience who had a question for her. Barbara appreciated the opportunity to speak one on one with many of the residents and hear their concerns or answer their questions."

During Comstock's 20-minute address, about half of which touched on her upbringing and family life, she called to repeal the Affordable Care Act, saying it has increased costs for Medicare and will limit patient choices. Opposition to the president's health care law has been a focal point of the Comstock campaign, along with job growth and her past experience working as an aide to current 10th District Congressman Frank Wolf, who is retiring.

Foust, a Fairfax County supervisor, has consistently highlighted Comstock's pro-life, pro-gun rights views, hoping to paint her as "outside the mainstream" of Virginia's 10th District.

Comstock is considered the front-runner in the contest, according to two recent polls and the Rothenberg Political Report/Roll Call, although RealClearPolitics.com recently labeled the race a toss-up.

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If she was thinking about the welfare of the people of this state and country she would of retired then and there and saved Virginia the disgrace of another politician with money woes.

Teflon Barby’s Richmond “JOB” was perhaps 180 days of session representing her current 5 years (with her 3 terms). Did she represent the majority of her constituents on the transportation bill (that luckily other Republicans supported so it could pass as it needed to) or women’s rights (so far removed from the facts period)...NO she did not. How do you “forget” $85K from the Romney campaign re disclosure? and how do you justify proposing bills when you are being paid by a specific interest group who is commanding your direction? Yes she sounds like she is well prepared to be another drain on US Citizens in DC…but luckily the voters will support Foust who isn’t a party DIVA…who has a track record on constituent services that trumps Comstock’s any day…

young & trustworthy have no $ = no thx 2 citizens united

It’s a shame neither party could put up someone young and trustworthy. Both are old, career polticians for the most part. And will vote along party line…. Oh well. Hold nose and pick the lessor of two evils…..

FredSanford - Unlikely and impossible are two different things.

Barbara does not like question from older people or reporters and since she is so sheltered by Susan it stands that the only people who can get a answer to Comstock’s disclosure irregularities is the IRS. If she failed to report 85 thousand dollars on disclosure maybe she figured she was owed the money and did not report it as income to the IRS? We should see the return, after all Presidential candidates provide them.

Trevor, The headline of this article is very interesting. You seem to pick up on all the democrat talking points, but when there is a comment from Foust like “real jobs” you cover it like the weather. Your coverage on the 2 debates was totally bland, almost as if Foust didn’t totally blow it.

“Foust, a Fairfax County supervisor, has consistently highlighted Comstock’s pro-life, pro-gun rights views”

Thank’s Foust, for spending your campaign dollars to get out the word on what voters in the 10th want to see in a candidate.

In case Stevens Miller and others have forgotten, the 10th has been Gerrymandered to be a Republican stronghold in which Wolf received nearly over 60% of the vote and his opponent only got 38%. That gap is impossible for Democrats to pull off a win. And harping about Republican ideals in a Republican district isn’t going to increase votes for Foust. What’s funny is that Foust’s commercial tries to make him look like a conservative, talking about cutting Government waste.

Some candidates can talk and listen to the voters then there is the over scripted Comstock. Reagan, Clinton Bush all liked people and sought out what bothered people but not Comstock. Frightened of a misplaced comment to the point she does not function well any longer.

She must remember what happened to Ken Cuccinelli, when he took questions there last year. The politically active residents at Ashby Ponds are sharp and do not put up with evasion.

This, combined with her running away from the press (on camera!) after the Chamber debate will not win her any votes.

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