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VA GOP Cong. Primary Candidates Tackle Republican Leadership At Forum

Virginia GOP candidates running for a seat to be vacated by Congressman Frank Wolf (R - VA) presented themselves to the public at a Republican Congressional primary town hall on Sunday at Patrick Henry College in Purcellville. Five of the six Republican candidates running for office answered questions, which were submitted by voters, from the forum's moderator WMAL Radio host Chris Plante.

One glaring point was illustrated by an empty chair and last minute created name tag. The original tag, according to organizers, mysteriously disappeared from the panel table and candidates took shots about the absence of fellow candidate, Virginia Delegate Barbara Comstock, during their responses at times.

The Comstock campaign  told event organizers the Fairfax Republican had a prior family commitment conflicting with the town hall event that was sponsored by tea party groups as well as other conservative organizations. The GOP candidates participating in the town hall were: Stephen Hollingshead, Howie Lind, Virginia Delegate Bob Marshall, Marc Savitt, and Rob Wassinger.  

"We don't need the government to solve our problems. We need the government to stop causing them. Now the way I'm different from all the good folks up here and one is missing," Hollingshead remarked as he ran down a list that included making a payroll and teaching the U.S. Constitution.

Lind went after Comstock for "supporting Medicaid expansion" in Virginia and her vote for Obama in the 2008 Democratic primaries. Comstock had previously explained her 2008 primary vote for Barack Obama was a result of her participation in talk radio host Rush Limbaugh's Operation Chaos, a bit created by Limbaugh to affect the outcome of the Democratic primaries. Lind called Comstock's explanation "a lie."

Calling the accusations "old news," the Comstock campaign said in a statement to the The Washington Times, “[Comstock] had participated in Rush Limbaugh’s 2008 ‘Operation Chaos’ to keep the Democrat primary going and nominate who she thought was the weakest candidate who Republican John McCain could beat.” 

The Times points out, however, that 'Operation Chaos' was originally intended to make sure Obama  was hurt  politically, Mr. Limbaugh told Fox News in May 2008, as Obama was about to snag the nomination. 

Candidates on stage also discussed their views on the House Republican leadership plans for an immigration bill as well as why they all believed House Speaker John Boehner should no longer be speaker.

Lind focused his response on reforming the visa system. "Forty percent of illegals are running around with expired visas. We don't have a tracking system for visas and we should," said Lind, adding, "Speaker John Boehner and Eric Cantor and others are trying to rally around this amnesty bill with Pelosi Democrats."

Marshall stated completing the wall along the U.S. southern border should be a priority. "They have not finished that wall. They've done everything except do the work." Marshall promised that if elected he would put an amendment on one of the budgets that said, "You can build a wall to engineering standards to keep illegal immigrants out of the United States. I would also put a budget amendment on telling Barack Obama, if you don't enforce the law we're cutting money for your executive office."

"The first thing we need to do is top illegal immigration. There are plenty of our laws that are not being enforced another example of the president ignoring the fact that he doesn't get to make the law. It's an act of security not just an immigration issue. We need to close the border," said Hollingshead.  

Each candidate at the town hall explained why he thought Boehner should no longer be speaker, a topic that drew applause from the crowd. Savitt said, "John Boehner needs to go...he has been in there a lot longer than he needs to already."

He added, "He let down not only his party but his country. The longer he's there, the worse it's going to be for all of us, so that should be the first order of business when the new congress convenes."  Savitt, said, suggesting Rep. Trey Gowdy (R - SC) as potential speaker material. 

Savitt, who later told Breitbart News he would term limit himself to only five terms, emphasized Boehner's unwillingness "to take the fight to Mr. Obama." Other candidate's suggestions for replacing Boehner were Rep. Justin Amash (R-MI), Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-TX), and Rep. Mark Meadows (R - NC).

The candidates gave their vision on the idea of repealing the Affordable Care Act. "Obamacare can't be fixed. It has to be yanked out from its roots. It's got to be repealed," Wassinger said, noting the 'fix it' solution is a result of a Democrats created "problem."   

The GOP primary for Virginia's 10th  CD  is set for April 26. Voters in the district can cast a ballot in any primary they choose, according to Virginia law, but cannot vote in both a Democratic and Republican presidential primary in the same year.


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