Duo aims for mighty Wolf in 10th District
WINCHESTER — Kristin Cabral, Democratic candidate for Virginia’s 10th Congressional District, has a go-to saying about her Republican opponent, incumbent Frank Wolf.
“It’s time for him to go,” she repeats often, when talking about the 31-year congressional veteran.
But Wolf, with a hefty financial advantage and a history of strong constituent services in the 10th District — which includes Winchester and Frederick and Clarke counties — is aiming for another term in Tuesday’s election.
Wolf had raised $448,473 for his re-election campaign through Oct. 17, compared to $65,850 for Cabral, according to Federal Election Commission records. Independent Kevin Chisholm said he has received less than $5,000.
If recent history is any indicator — Wolf has routinely won re-election by a 20- to 25-percentage-point margin — Cabral and Chisholm will have a tough time defeating the incumbent.
Wolf, 73, was first elected in 1980 and has never been seriously challenged.
“I run on my record,” he said in a recent stop in Winchester.
And the Vienna Republican has a long record.
Wolf, a member of the House Committee on Appropriations, has recently zeroed in on finding a solution to the nation’s debt, one that, if forged, he argues would lead to an “American renaissance.”
He was among 38 members of the House who supported a bipartisan budget based on the recommendations of the Simpson-Bowles commission — which included a mix of cuts and slowing the rate of spending growth while also reforming the tax code.
Wolf isn’t afraid to break from the party line. He’s one of only six Republican members of Congress who has refused to sign a pledge to never raise taxes — the brainchild of conservative activist Grover Norquist.
He also chairs the Subcommittee on Commerce, Justice, Science and Related Agencies, where he has brought attention to perceived threats from Chinese hackers.
Wolf favors repealing the Affordable Care Act and replacing it with a plan that allows consumers to purchase insurance across state lines, purchase imported drugs, cuts down on medical malpractice suits and makes it easier for businesses to group together and bargain for cheaper insurance.
The Fairfax County resident, who attended Harvard Law School at the same time as President Barack Obama, has worked in the field of law in each of the three branches of the federal government, including as a federal prosecutor at the Justice Department.
Cabral, 46, who has never held elected office, laments the dysfunction in Congress.
“Nobody in Congress seems to be compromising and getting the job done,” she said in a recent interview.
Cabral has tried to appeal to women in her campaign, promising to fight for a Women’s Small Business Administration. She also promises to return more federal tax money to the district and is a passionate supporter of education.
Her father was an accountant and her mother a secretary, and Cabral paid her way through college by taking out low-interest, government-backed student loans, Pell grants and doing work-study. She also worked part-time.
“That was a good federal investment in my education,” she said. “I want to see people of the 10th Congressional District have the same opportunities.”
Cabral supports the Affordable Care Act. “This campaign is about preserving and growing the American dream,” she said.
Chisholm isn’t just a candidate, he is also his campaign’s press secretary, fundraiser, spokesperson and every other role.
“Life is rough as an Independent,” he says, but he believes he has brought important issues to the campaign dialogue.
While Cabral and Wolf debate the best ways to cut the deficit while saving the defense budget from any trimmings, he has questioned why defense is too sacred to be touched.
The U.S. spent $699 billion on defense in 2011, compared to $647 billion on all other discretionary spending, including $91 billion on transportation, according to the Congressional Budget Office.
Although the reduced spending could disproportionately hurt Virginia, where thousands of jobs are connected to the defense industry, Chisholm, 55, believes savings could be re-directed into infrastructure projects that would put people to work.
Addressing climate change, Chisholm would like to tax carbon, which he says would help move the market toward more green technology.
The Crystal City resident would at the same time support lower taxes on earned income.
Chisholm, an engineer by trade, describes himself as a “fiscally conservative progressive.”
“I really do believe that anything state and local governments can do, they should do,” he said.
— Contact Conor Gallagher at firstname.lastname@example.org