02 May 2017
By now everyone knows that Barbara Comstock is catching a lot of flack for her lack of town halls (she’s never had one.) Her initial excuse for this was that she prefers smaller meetings, but she’s cancelled one of the few such meetings that she did manage to schedule, and she’s been caught on tape on multiple occasions, running from her constituents.
In a recent interview Barbara Comstock defended her lack of town halls and recent absence from her district by proclaiming that “I am ever present in my district.” If you look at the public record, this turns out to be a bit of an exaggeration.
Checkout out our interactive map which shows you every single public event and also allows you to filter by event type.
Here’s a summary of what we found:
- She held a total of 66 events
- Only 15% of all events were open to the public
- Majority of the events (58%) were not in her district
- None of the events (0%) were in the western half of her district
- None of the events (0%) were announced to her constituents ahead of time
Now let’s talk about this last point since the VA GOP Chairman was ranting about this on Twitter yesterday:
Nobody has a problem with Comstock doing unannounced events. It’s normal for representatives to sometimes just show up places as their schedule allows. Fundraising is also a necessary part of the business which is why we did not count those as events (see our methodology at the end.)
Here is the problem with Comstock’s events:
- She gives the false impression that they are taking place in her district (even Whitbeck fell for this once)
- Most of the events are not free and accessible to the general public - even if they were to be announced
- Comstock is the one claiming these unannounced private events are a substitute for public town halls.
The “BOTH SIDES!” argument loses a bit of it’s impact when you consider that Wexton has held four town halls in three months. This fact does not seem lost upon one constituent, who responded:
- Reviewed all public posts on Twitter and Facebook
- Did not count any instances where people came to her office
- Did not count events where her staff attended without her
- Counted political events inside and outside her district
- Counted lobbying events inside and outside her district
- Included private events not open to the public
- Included events where she was just one of many public figures invited
- Only examined the events in 2017 (the period corresponding to her claim)
Comstock held several unannounced events last weekend. Those were not included in this research but we will be adding them to the map shortly and keeping it updated right through the election in 2018.