To some she may be just a former Capitol Hill and Justice Department staffer, but to many Republican and Democratic stars, Virginia Republican delegate candidate Barbara Comstock is a principled and bipartisan workhorse worth backing against a Democratic incumbent. And a friend. With that help, Comstock, who has been in the middle of national affairs from investigating the Whitewater scandal to helping guide the Justice Department's post-9/11 communications efforts, is strategizing to position herself to defeat Del. Margaret Vanderhye.
"I think the polls look good for her," says supporter Liz Cheney. Father Dick Cheney, who has a house in the McLean, Va., district, also likes Comstock's chances, though the former vice president is still registered to vote in Wyoming.
In the latest sign of bipartisan support, a prominent GOP pundit, Alex Castellanos, and Democrat Cynthia Alksne, a Gov. Tim Kaine appointee to the state corrections board, are hosting a fundraiser in McLean this week that will feature Comstock friend Fred Thompson, the former senator and presidential candidate, and his wife, Jeri. Kaine also is currently the chairman of the Democratic National Committee. It's a "purple themed" event for Comstock. Alksne isn't just a Democratic appointee in the state: She's married to a close ally of Howard Dean, media consultant Steve McMahon. The event will be at the McMahon house. "Cynthia and I share a passion for education," Comstock says.