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Vulnerable GOP incumbent accepts endorsement from infamous racist

George Allen’s endorsement didn’t work for Ed Gillespie. But Rep. Barbara Comstock apparently hopes it will work for her.

By Matthew Chapman - May 30, 2018
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Virginia Republican Rep. Barbara Comstock
Virginia Republican Rep. Barbara Comstock

Vulnerable Virginia Republican Rep. Barbara Comstock is determined to win re-election. But her latest method of shoring up the vote is questionable, to say the least.

Last Friday, Comstock tweeted an image of herself posing for a smiling photograph with one of her most notable endorsers — George Allen, a former Virginia senator and governor.

It’s baffling why Comstock would want to be associated with Allen, who has a history of overt racism.

He infamously lost his Senate re-election bid in 2006 after he called a young Democratic volunteer of Indian descent “macaca,” a racial slur for African immigrants.

And he has exhibited unabashed racism his entire career, from using the N-word in college to keeping a noose in his law office.

Comstock is not even the first Republican to use Allen to court voters. Former RNC chair Ed Gillespie, who ran his own exceedingly racist campaign for governor of Virginia last year, brought Allen to a campaign rally, where he tried to claim that it was in fact the Democrats who were “demeaning people.”

Gillespie went on to lose that race to Democratic then-Lt. Gov. Ralph Northam by 9 points.

Virginia is a rough state in which to be a Republican this year. In addition to losing the governorship, GOP majorities in the state legislature are hanging by a thread, and Democrats just managed to push them into expanding Medicaid. Moreover, Republican prospects for unseating Sen. Tim Kaine look moribund, with one GOP strategist saying, “I don’t think there is anybody.”

Two Republican members of the Virginia House delegation, Reps. Bob Goodlatte and Tom Garrett, are already retiring.

Comstock, however, is trying to hang on to her seat.

But it will be an uphill battle for her in Virginia’s 10th Congressional District, which encompasses the wealthy D.C. suburbs in the northern part of the state.

The district’s electorate leans slighty Democratic, and voted against Trump by 10 points. But Comstock has backed Trump in 97 percent of her votes in Congress, including for the GOP tax scam. One recent poll shows her losing a hypothetical general-election matchup.

Faced with this environment, leaning on someone like George Allen for support is a curious move for her to make. And it is likely to come back to haunt her.


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