Several hundred people came to Patrick Henry College on a beautiful Sunday afternoon to hear 5 conservative candidates debate for a chance to represent the 10th district in the race to replace Congressman Frank Wolf. It was a group who support the Tea Party and conservative causes. The only candidate who did not attend was Barbara Comstock. Comstock put family first and attend her daughter’s shower. The other candidates used her absence as an opportunity to criticize her. Howie Lind was the most outspoken against Comstock for being the ‘establishment candidate’ and for her vote on on a Medicaid bill that included abortion. He also objected to Comstock’s vote in a democrat primary for Obama in 2008. That happened weeks prior to Rush Limbaugh’s call for “Operation Chaos” which encouraged conservatives to vote in democrat primaries. Most of the candidates criticized Comstock at some point in the debate.
The crowd was very supportive of Bob Marshall and Stephen Hollingshead. Neither disappointed. Marshall’s depth of knowledge was impressive and his long time defense of conservative issues. It was clear that Marshall would never back down, never give up on moral issues, and never raise taxes. Hollingshead was once again knowledgeable and very funny. He said, “Obama and I both taught Constitutional Law, the difference is I read the Constitution first.” The crowd loved it! Hollingshead sends a copy of the Constitution to each of his donors. Hollingshead continue his call for the federal government to get out of our lives, “Stop It!”
Not surprisingly, the first question was on illegal immigration, which all candidates opposed. All support the promised wall to keep illegal immigrants out of the country. None of the candidates agreed with the RPV executive director Shaun Kenney’s stance on illegal immigration. Several candidates mentioned our broken visa system which allows many immigrants to remain in the country long after their visas have expired.
The most heated exchange happened between Stephen Hollingshead and Bob Marshall. Hollingshead pointed out that both Marshall and Comstock voted for tax credits for some businesses. Hollingshead objects to any business getting special tax breaks while Marshall said sometimes that was the best he could do because those were the only tax credits on the table. Marshall would rather give tax credits to some businesses, rather than no tax cuts to anyone. Hollingshead perfers tax credits for ALL businesses. He believes that NO companies should have special benefits. He wants to lower the tax rate for everyone. He said he was against all cronyism, as was Reagan. Hollingshead reminded the audience that the government cannot give something to someone without taking it away from someone else. A great message, well received by the audience.
There was too much talk about Muslims and Sharia law, which all candidates oppose. There was no debate on the issue. All candidates strongly oppose all attempts at pushing Sharia Law into our courts. So why do some people persist in mentioning this non-issue for republican candidates? It’s a waste of time. No one wants Sharia Law in our court system and no one supports the Muslim Brotherhood. So why must some people continue to beat this dead horse?
Chris Plante of WMAL did an excellent job as host, keeping things moving along while being quite humorous. Sandy Rios, a talk show host and Fox News contributor, was charged with informing the crowd about the upcoming Firehouse Primary on April 26th. Unfortunately, she did not understand it and could not explain to the crowd what they needed to do to cast their votes. She said several things that were simply wrong. She should never have been chosen to inform the crowd. She claimed that she had tried many times to access the GOP 10th district website, but it was not available. Ridiculous. I use the 10th district website daily without ever having a problem. Ms. Rios said that voters must download a form prior to going to the polls. Not true. The forms are readily available at the polling stations. She thought the scheduled time for voting, 10 am to 3:00 pm, was terrible and finding your voting location nearly impossible. One of the candidates pointed out that the information can easily be found on any candidate’s website, in addition to http://vagop10.org/. All the details of the primary canvass can be found here. Ms. Rios appears to be the only person who finds the party process onerous. Despite her poor information, Republican voters in the 10th district are fully capable of finding their voting location, and of voting on April 26th.
Watch the debate here.