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Monday, April 14, 2014

Bob Marshall Makes National Review's Bad Primary Candidates List

It's primary season and National Review Online had this article by John Fund yesterday on a couple of tea party aligned candidates that Fund considers to be disasters for the GOP if they win their nomination contests.  Virginia's own Delegate Bob Marshall (R-Prince William) makes the list.

Marshall is currently one of several candidates hoping to replace retiring 10th District Congressman Frank Wolf.  The so-called GOP establishment has circled the wagons around Delegate Barbara Comstock.  But Comstock is no RINO (Republican in Name Only), which is usually who Tea Party aligned candidates target.  Comstock has an "A" rating from the NRA, and beat back a Bloomberg funded candidate to win reelection in Northern Virginia in 2013.  She has also secured the endorsement of conservative radio talk show host Mark Levin, no fan of the GOP establishment and a big fan of the Tea Party, and movement conservatives like Morton Blackwell.

There is a "fire house" primary scheduled for Saturday, April 26 to decide the GOP nominee.  While not a party convention that usually only the most dedicated activists attend, a fire house primary still has lower turn out than an actual primary.  Fund notes that Marshall has performed well in these low turnout environments in the past, like in 2008, when he lost a U.S. Senate primary to former governor and NRA Board member Jim Gilmore by just 66 votes out of more than 10,300 votes cast at a state GOP convention. And that could be the problem.  If he wins there will be a lot of past statements that Democrats will use against Delegate Marshall:
Marshall’s problem is that his extreme rhetoric marks him as easy prey for Democratic attack ads in November. In my view, he is a dead-weight loser — and I almost never reach such a conclusion about a conservative candidate in a competitive district.

Last Thursday, the Washington Times did an analysis of his record and noted that “Marshall has said disabled children can be God’s vengeance against women who have had abortions.” Indeed, in 2010, Marshall spoke at a rally calling for an end to state funding of Planned Parenthood. “When you abort the firstborn of any, nature takes its vengeance on the subsequent children,” he claimed. “This is a special punishment, Christians would suggest.”

After an uproar, Marshall waited five days to offer a quasi-apology, saying he had been misconstrued. But days after this walkback, he took to the House floor and claimed his statement had “been repeated endless times in print and in the electronic media without anyone producing the smoking-gun tape.” In reality, his words had been posted on YouTube for several days and can still be found there.

“He’s Todd Akin on steroids,” adds one Northern Virginia conservative activist who has endorsed no one for the seat. He noted that after last year’s Supreme Court decision striking down a gay-marriage ban in California, Marshall said, “For all I know, [Justice Anthony] Kennedy is a homosexual.” When asked by the Washington Times about his comment, he defended it: “Clearly, some of the people making these decisions must be rationalizing their own bad behavior.” Justice Kennedy, who was appointed by President Ronald Reagan, has been married for 51 years and has five children.
Marshall has support from the Tea Party in his home county.  The fact that tea party booster Mark Levin is on Comstock's side, may be what she needs to overcome Marshall's claims that she is not conservative enough.  Anyone who has listened to Levin knows he is not going to support a squish.  In the end however, she has to turn out more people than the other candidates on April 26.

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