|Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Virginia's 10th district
January 3, 2015
|Preceded by||Frank Wolf|
|Member of the Virginia House of Delegates
from the 34th district
January 13, 2010 – November 10, 2014
|Preceded by||Margaret Vanderhye|
|Succeeded by||Kathleen Murphy|
|Born||Barbara Jean Burns
June 30, 1959
Springfield, Massachusetts, U.S.
|Spouse(s)||Chip Comstock (1982–present)|
|Children||Daniel, Peter, Catherine|
|Alma mater||Middlebury College (B.A.)
Georgetown University (J.D.)
Barbara Jean Comstock (born June 30, 1959) is an American politician, currently a Republican member of the U.S. Congress from Virginia's 10th District. From 2010 to 2014, she was a member of the Virginia House of Delegates. She first won election to her seat in 2009, defeating Democratic incumbent Margaret Vanderhye. She has worked at numerous positions for various government agencies, including chief counsel of the House Government Reform and Oversight Committee, director of public affairs at the Department of Justice, and as a staffer for Congressman Frank Wolf. She is a founding partner and co-principal of opposition research and public relations firm Corallo Comstock.
On January 7, 2014, Comstock announced her candidacy for U.S. Congress from Virginia's 10th District. She won that election by 16 points and took office in January 2015.
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, working as one of Washington's most prominent anti-Clinton opposition researchers.
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. She has been praised for her work in opposition research for the Republican National Committee.
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. Comstock was paid from 2008 through 2012 by WFI[clarification needed], according to her campaign, but she made at least two more media appearances on behalf of the group in 2013 While serving as Delegate. She initially failed to list WFI as a client when she filed papers to run for the seat. Her campaign later disclosed the relationship to The Washington Post, calling the omission unintentional. Congressional candidates with an ownership interest in companies are required to report clients who paid $5,000 or more in fees. While receiving payments, Comstock sponsored legislation that benefited the WFI and their primary objectives. She also serves as Co-Chair of the Executive Committee of the Susan B. Anthony List.
In 2011, Comstock voted in favor of HB 462, which required women to have ultrasounds before receiving an abortion. When opponents pointed out that this would necessitate an internal ultrasound for early-term pregnancies, an amendment was passed to limit the requirement to external ultrasounds only. She also voted in favor of the amendment. Comstock supports exceptions to bans on abortions in cases of rape, incest, or when the mother's life is in danger. She also supports making birth control available to women over the counter.
U.S. House of Representatives
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.
While debating John Foust at Virginia's 10th Congressional District Debate, Comstock answered a question about how congress should handle comprehensive immigration reform. She said, “Fed-Ex can track packages coming in here all of the time, we can track people who are coming into the country and we can do that right.” She then went on to oppose passing comprehensive immigration reform preferring a piecemeal approach instead.
Comstock in tandem with Republican Senate candidate Ed Gillespie planned on attending a public meeting Northern Shenandoah Valley Tea Party in early August. After rumors arose that questions would be taken from the crowd at this public event, 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 to chat with the group by phone 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 United States Chamber of Commerce, the National Federation of Independent Business, and both the Virginia Association of Realtors and the National Association of Realtors. 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.
Comstock won the election on November 4, 2014, defeating Democrat John Foust with 56 percent of the vote.
- Committee on House Administration
- Committee on Science, Space and Technology
- Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure
Comstock is expected to face Democrat LuAnn Bennett, a real estate executive and ex-wife of former Virginia Congressman Jim Moran, in the 2016 election. Given the swing state status of Virginia in the 2016 presidential election, the race is expected to be one of the most heavily contested races in the country. Democratic strategist Ellen Qualls said the 10th District is "essentially the swingiest district in the swingiest state."
|Virginia House of Delegates General Election, 2009|
|Virginia House of Delegates General Election, 2011|
|Virginia House of Delegates General Election, 2013|
|U.S. House of Representatives General Election, 2014|
|Libertarian||William B. Redpath||3,393||1.52%|
|Independent||Brad A. Eickholt||2,441||1.10%|
|Independent Green||Dianne L. Blais||944||0.42%|
- "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.
- "GOP’s Barbara Comstock wins Virginia’s 10th Congressional District, keeps seat Republican". Washington Post. Associated Press. November 4, 2014. Retrieved 2014-11-05.
- Olivo, Antonio (November 4, 2014). "Comstock declared victory in Virginia’s 10th District". Washington Post. Retrieved 2014-11-05.
- 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.
- VandenDolder, Tess (6 August 2014). "In Virginia's 10th District Congressional Race, K Street Ties Are Everything". InTheCapital. Retrieved 19 October 2014.
- Murphy, Tim (April 25, 2014). "Can This Oppo Research Guru Survive the Mudslinging in Her GOP Primary?". Mother Jones. Retrieved October 26, 2014.
- Joseph, Cameron (August 6, 2014). "K St. connections dog Va. hopeful". The Hill. thehill.com. Retrieved October 26, 2014.
- 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]
- Olivo, Antonio (5 September 2014). "Barbara J. Comstock, Va. GOP candidate for U.S. House, failed to report $85,000". The Washington Post. Retrieved 19 October 2014.
- Parti, Tarini (9 October 2014). "Barbara Comstock pushed client’s issues, didn’t disclose". Politico. Retrieved 19 October 2014.
- Executive Committee | SBA-List
- Weiner, Rachel (Sep 15, 2014). "Foust reminds voters of Comstock’s vote for ‘transvaginal ultrasounds’ in new ad". The Washington Post. Retrieved Sep 28, 2014.
- Spencer, Jason (23 October 2013). "Comstock, Murphy On The Issues". Mclean Patch.
- Pappas, Alex (5 February 2014). "Here’s the opposition research packet on Barbara Comstock". The Daily Caller. Retrieved 5 February 2014.
- "Virginia 10th Congressional District Debate: Clip". CSPAN. National Cable Satellite. Retrieved 19 October 2014.
- Sakuma, Amanda (25 September 2014). "GOP candidate: US should track immigrants like Fed-Ex packages". NBC Universal. MSNBC. Retrieved 19 October 2014.
- Portnoy, Jenna. "Gillespie, Comstock choose call after event venue is changed to evade ‘unfriendlies’". The Washington Post.
- "U.S. Chamber Backs Comstock In One Of 2014's 'Most Watched Races'". Loudoun Business. Retrieved 19 August 2014.
- "NFIB Endorses Barbara Comstock for Congress". www.nfib.com. Retrieved July 30, 2014.
- Baratko, Trevor. "Race for Virginia's 10th: Debate set, endorsements touted". www.loudontimes.com. Retrieved August 19, 2014.
- "Comstock Gets Police Endorsement". Bearing Drift. Retrieved 28 August 2014.
- "Virginia 10th District: Barbara Comstock Declares Victory". NBC Washington. Retrieved 6 November 2014.
- LuAnn Bennett declares congressional bid against Barbara Comstock
- Outrunning Bellwethers and Coattails in a Swing State
- "2014 Election Results". Virginia Department of Elections. Retrieved 2014-11-05.
- Congresswoman Barbara Comstock official U.S. House site
- Comstock for Congress official campaign website
- Appearances on C-SPAN
- Biography at the Biographical Directory of the United States Congress
- Profile at Project Vote Smart
- Financial information (federal office) at the Federal Election Commission
- Legislation sponsored at The Library of Congress
|United States House of Representatives|
|Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Virginia's 10th congressional district
January 3, 2015 – present
|United States order of precedence (ceremonial)|
|United States Representatives by seniority