|Member of the Virginia House of Delegates
from the 34th district
January 3, 2010
|Preceded by||Margaret Vanderhye|
|Born||Barbara Jean Burns
June 30, 1959
|Spouse(s)||Chip Comstock (1982–present)|
|Children||Daniel, Peter, Catherine|
|Alma mater||Middlebury College
Georgetown University Law Center
Barbara J. Comstock (born June 30, 1959) is an American politician, currently a Republican member of the Virginia House of Delegates. She first won election to her seat in 2009, defeating Democratic incumbent Margaret Vanderhye. She was formerly a spokesperson, lobbyist, political consultant; and a founding partner and co-principal of public policy and public relations firm Corallo Comstock. On January 7, 2014, Comstock announced her candidacy for U.S. Congress from Virginia's 10th District.
Comstock began her congressional career as an intern for Senator Ted Kennedy. After working as a lawyer in private practice, Comstock served from 1991-1995 as a senior aide to Congressman Frank Wolf. Comstock then served as chief investigative counsel and senior counsel for the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Government Reform from 1995 to 1999.
Comstock worked on behalf of the 2000 presidential campaign of George W. Bush. Her research team built massive stores of paper and electronic data, known as "The Gore File," that were a key source of information on the former vice president for GOP publicists and ad-makers. Comstock is credited with writing the Republican "playbook" defending Bush nominees such as John Ashcroft for U.S. Attorney General. Comstock later served as director of public affairs for the Justice Department from 2002 to 2003.
Comstock's work in opposition research for the Republican National Committee has been praised as "meticulous and thorough," with her research being "one of the most successful parts of the RNC in 2000." Former Solicitor General Theodore Olson has said, "She is tireless. She has an encyclopedic mind and damn good judgment. Those qualities are at a real premium in Washington."
Comstock has been described by critics such as journalist David Brock as a "very smart lawyer by training" and maintains friendships crossing the political divide. Democratic consultant Donna Brazile said in a 2005 interview, "I've had my [political] battles with Barbara, and won some and lost some. But either way, she has kept her smile and her wit."
Comstock assisted the defense teams of both I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby and former House Majority Leader Tom DeLay. In 2005, Comstock was hired by Dan Glickman to lobby on behalf of the Motion Picture Association of America.
Comstock was a consultant on the presidential campaign of Mitt Romney and is also a consultant to the Workforce Fairness Institute, which opposes the Employee Free Choice Act. She also serves as Co-Chair of the Executive Committee of the Susan B. Anthony List.
Comstock voted for legislation which would have mandated external ultrasounds before abortions, in order to date the gestation period of the fetus. Comstock also supported amending HB 30 - 2010-2012 Biennium Budget to limit state-funding for abortion services.
After being reelected in 2013, she was named the Chairwoman of the House Science And Technology Committee.
Candidate for U.S. Congress
On January 7, 2014 she announced her candidacy for the U.S. House of Representatives from Virginia's 10th District, following the announcement that Rep. Frank Wolf will retire at the end of the 113th Congress rather than run for reelection.
The Daily Caller reported that an opposition research packet on Comstock suggests she "will likely come under fire in Virginia’s 10th congressional district race over the question of whether she is conservative enough."
On April 26, 2014, Barbara Comstock won the Republican nomination for the U.S. House of Representatives in the 10th District firehouse primary, defeating five other candidates and winning approximately 54% of the total vote.
Comstock in tandem with Republican Senate candidate Ed Gillespie planned on attending a public meeting Northern Shenandoah Valley Tea Party in early August. After concerns arose that the meeting would be infiltrated by Democrats, both candidates moved the meeting to a private location. After criticism from Democratic candidates about why they needed to hide behind closed doors to meet with their base of voters, Comstock and Gillespie opted for a conference call with the group instead. This decision prompted a statement from David Sparkman, chairman of the Tea Party group, to say, "I'm disappointed, I wanted to look these politicians in the eye and take their measure."
Comstock has received the endorsements of the National Federation of Independent Businesses (NFIB) and United States Chamber of Commerce. On August 28, 2014, Comstock received the endorsement of the Virginia Police Benevolent Association (VAPBA). In 2012 the VAPBA had endorsed the Democratic challenger to Rep. Frank Wolf in the same district.
David Brock's book
In his book Blinded by the Right, left-wing journalist David Brock discusses Comstock's Whitewater investigative efforts against the Clintons describing her as "almost unhinged". Brock wrote that Comstock would regularly make late-night telephone calls with "the latest tidbit she had dug up in the thousands and thousands of pages of administration records she pored through frantically," and visited Brock to "watch the rerun of a dreadfully dull Whitewater hearing she had sat through all day."
To Brock, Comstock seemed "especially intent on proving that Hillary [Clinton] had lied about her role" in Travelgate..."[a]s Comstock’s leads failed to pan out, and she was unable to catch anyone in a lie, the Republican aide confided that the Clinton scandals were driving her to distraction, to the unfortunate point that she was ignoring the needs of her own family. A very smart lawyer by training and the main breadwinner for her charismatic, happy-go-lucky husband and kids, Comstock remarked that maybe she couldn’t get Hillary’s sins off her brain because 'Hillary reminds me of me. I am Hillary.'”
- "Barbara Burns Bride Of Elwyn C. Comstock". New York Times. October 10, 1982. Retrieved 2012-08-12.
- "Bio for Barbara J. Comstock". Virginia General Assembly. Retrieved 2013-08-12.
- DiCicco, Mike (4 November 2009). "Republican Comstock Ousts Vanderhye in Close Race". Connection Newspapers. Retrieved 5 November 2009.[dead link]
- Gardner, Amy (5 August 2009). "House Call!". WashingtonPost.com. Retrieved 19 August 2009.
- Singer, Paul; Tory Newmyer (11 April 2007). "K Street Files". Roll Call. p. 7.
- Bolton, Alexander; Brittney Moraski (20 December 2007). "Lobbyists on Obama's '08 payroll". The Hill. Archived from the original on 2009-03-06. Retrieved 19 August 2009.
- John Mintz (22 August 2001). "One-Woman Wrecking Crew Targets Democratic Leaders: Meticulous Comstock Helps RNC Skewer the Opposition". Washington Post. pp. A17.
- Comstock, Barbara; Lanny J. Davis (20 October 2008). "What's Fair is Fair". National Review Online. Retrieved 19 August 2009.
- Hedges, Michael (13 November 2005). "When GOP ails, ex-Houstonian has cure". Houston Chronicle.
- David Brock, Blinded by the Right: The Conscience of an Ex-Conservative (2003), pp. 208-09, 227, 273
- Allen, Mike (10 April 2005). "DeLay's Backers Launch Offense". Washington Post. p. A4. Retrieved 19 August 2009.
- Mullins, Brody; Kate Kelly (24 August 2005). "Movie Lobbyist Reaches Across the Aisle". Wall Street Journal. Retrieved 19 August 2009.
- "Highlights on the Show: Jan 12-16, 2008". The Thom Hartmann Program. Air America. 12 January 2008. Retrieved 19 August 2009.[dead link]
- Executive Committee | SBA-List
- Spencer, Jason (23 October 2013). "Comstock, Murphy On The Issues". Mclean Patch.
- "Amdt 91 - Limiting State Funding of Abortion". Project Vote Smart.
- Pappas, Alex (5 February 2014). "Here’s the opposition research packet on Barbara Comstock". The Daily Caller. Retrieved 5 February 2014.
- Portnoy, Jenna. "Gillespie, Comstock choose call after event venue is changed to evade ‘unfriendlies’". The Washington Post.
- "NFIB Endorses Barbara Comstock for Congress". NFIB. Retrieved 30 July 2014.
- "U.S. Chamber Backs Comstock In One Of 2014's 'Most Watched Races'". Loudoun Business. Retrieved 19 August 2014.
- "Comstock Gets Police Endorsement". Bearing Drift. Retrieved 28 August 2014.
- Comstock for Delegate official campaign website