Republican leadership in Virginia’s House of Delegates is pressing for an apology from fellow conservative Howie Lind over a recent Lind attack ad against Del. Barbara Comstock (R-Dist. 34) in the 10th Congressional District GOP primary contest.
In a letter sent Thursday, GOP lawmakers, including Speaker of the House of Delegates William Howell (R-Dist. 28) and Loudoun-based Dels. Tag Greason (R-Dist. 32) and David Ramadan (R-Dist. 87), go so far as to urge Lind, a former chairman of the 10th Congressional District Republican Committee, to “seriously review” why he is “even in this race.”
Lind and Comstock are two of six Republicans seeking the party’s nomination to succeed longtime Rep. Frank Wolf, who represents parts of Fairfax County and portions or all of several other Northern Virginia jurisdictions.
The intra-party scuffle stems from a Lind radio ad claiming Del. Comstock supports expanding Medicaid in Virginia through the Affordable Care Act, even though Comstock took several votes against expansion in the 2014 General Assembly session.
“It was extremely disappointing to see your campaign act with such disregard for the truth in your false, negative attacks on Del. Barbara Comstock,” the Republicans state in the letter to Lind. “Your actions are especially troubling, since you were previously a 10th District Committee Republican Chairman, and until recently a U.S. Senate candidate. As fellow Republicans, we had hoped you would be aware that Del. Comstock has consistently voted against Medicaid expansion as it relates to Obamacare.”
In addition to Howell, Greason and Ramadan, House of Delegates Majority Whip Jackson Miller (R-Dist. 50), Del. Rich Anderson (R-Dist. 51) and Fairfax County Supervisor Pat Herrity (R-Springfield) signed off on the letter.
“We request that you do the honorable thing and apologize for your false statements, withdraw your ad, and seriously review why you are even in this race,” the letter continues. “Your tactics and actions are causing actual harm to fellow Republicans, including some of our future leaders in the Young Republicans. We suggest you follow Ronald Reagan’s 11th Commandment -- ‘Thou shall not speak ill of a fellow Republican.’”
While Comstock is widely viewed as the front-runner in the 10th District contest, Lind last week won a Loudoun County Tea Party straw poll. Comstock previously prevailed in Loudoun County Republican Committee straw poll (separate from the local tea party).
Lind’s campaign doubled-down on its offensive Friday, knocking Howell for supporting last year’s tax increase associated with the transportation funding overhaul legislation. The Lind camp also continued to push the line that Comstock supports Medicaid expansion.
“Speaker Bill Howell pushed through the largest tax increase in Virginia history last year, dooming the campaigns of Ken Cuccinelli, E.W. Jackson and Mark Obenshain,” Lind campaign manager Howie Morgan said Friday. “Today he is attacking Howie Lind for stating what everyone knows is true, that on the day after the primary Barbara Comstock will be a solid vote for the McAuliffe Obamacare Medicaid Expansion.”
Lind himself noted that Comstock’s campaign website was recently scrubbed of language stating Comstock supports reforms to Medicaid before expansion is implemented. The candidate on Friday sent a response letter to Del. Howell, demanding an apology from the speaker, pointing out the alteration to Comstock’s website and bringing up a 2008 vote for President Barack Obama cast by Comstock.
“ ... here’s what we have. Delegate Comstock outlined on her website the conditions she would support Medicaid Expansion. Then, when her position was exposed, she rewrote her site with the proper campaign-approved lie,” Lind stated in his letter to Howell. “Then she made misstatements again by trying to say her vote in the Democratic Primary was about ‘Operation Chaos’ when in fact the phrase didn’t even exist on February 12, 2008 and concerned votes for Hillary Clinton and not Barack Obama.”
“So Mr. Speaker I am now going to request you do the honorable thing and apologize to me for your false accusations and seriously review why you are interfering in a race that last I checked you cannot vote in,” Lind continued.
The Republican 10th District nominee will be selected through an April 26 firehouse primary, held at various locations throughout the district.