The Club for Growth

Phillip Rodokanakis


Conservative Dilemma


Some choice. Conservatives in the 10th district can vote for Frank Wolf, a 26-year incumbent who has drifted leftward in recent years, or a former Clinton-era bureaucrat.


“The difference between moral dilemmas and ethical ones, philosophers say, is that in moral issues the choice is between right and wrong. In ethics, the choice is between two rights.” -- Pamela Warrick quotes, American Journalist.


Virginia’s 10th Congressional District, is a conservative district where not long ago GOP candidates used to run unchallenged. Located in the northwest corner of the state, it includes the counties of Frederick, Clarke, Warren, Loudoun, and parts of Fairfax, Prince William, and Fauquier counties.


The Republican incumbent representing this district for 26 years now is Rep. Frank Wolf (R). Although he had promised in his early campaigns to impose upon himself a limit of four or five terms, he later changed his mind and has continued running for this office since the early 1980s.


Wolf once was the darling of the conservative establishment. He earned a reputation as an ethical, no-nonsense politician whom his constituents could rely upon to represent them honorably and reliably.


As population shifts in Fairfax, Loudoun, and Prince William counties created a more liberal-minded electorate, Wolf began attracting Democrat challengers. For example, in the 2004 elections, J.R. Socas, a virtual unknown, ran against Wolf and received 36 percent of the vote. Socas spent just under $1.0 million, while Wolf was forced to spend more than $1.6 million to get re-elected with a comfortable 63 percent margin.


This time, Wolf is getting a stiffer challenge from Judy Feder, a former Clinton appointee at the Department of Health and Human Services who promoted the Clinton Administration’s widely discredited effort to nationalize the health care industry. She is currently the Dean of the Public Policy Institute at Georgetown University.


Irrespective of the policy differences between Wolf and Feder, the Democrat challenger appears to be getting traction. If elections were decided on fundraising results, Wolf would win by a slight margin; as per recent FEC filings, Wolf has raised $1.3 million to Feder’s $1.0 million.


Nonetheless, the 10th District remains a solidly Republican district, which gives Wolf a big advantage. For example, in the 2004 elections, President Bush easily won 55 percent of the votes in this district — better than the 53 percent overall return for the Bush/Cheney ticket across the state.


Recently, Wolf has run into serious problems with his conservative base. As some of his constituents have taken a closer look at his voting record, they are wondering if he has abandoned the conservative reservation.


Consider the following accusations lodged at Wolf by some of his constituents:

  • He voted against Republican Steve Chabot’s Private Property Rights Implementation Act, which was one of the fixes to the Supreme Court’s Kelo decision legalizing the theft of private property for use by big business. (Click here for details.)

  • He refuses to sponsor the Life at Conception Act with other Virginia Republican Representatives, Bob Goodlatte (R-VA 6th District), Randy Forbes (R-VA 4th District), and Jo Ann Davis (R-VA 1st District). (Click here for details.)

  • He is the only Virginia Republican candidate endorsed by Citizens for Global Solutions, an organization committed to destroying U.S. sovereignty and building a one-world government. (Click here for details.)

  • He, along with most Democrats, voted against the Online Freedom of Speech Act. As Republican Speaker Hastert said after the vote, "Today's action marks a sad day for one of our nation's most sacred rights: freedom of speech.” (Click here for details; a 2/3 majority was required to suspend the rules.)

  • He voted against allowing American Citizens to own guns in crime-infested Washington, D.C., depriving District residents from a fundamental constitutional liberty that most of us take for granted. Instead, in a typical bureaucratic fashion, Wolf called for another crime commission. (Click here for details.)

  • He voted against the GOP party leadership’s rule change requiring congressmen to identify themselves with spending requests (i.e., “earmarks”) they hide in appropriation bills. (Click here fore details.)

Wolf’s vote against disclosing earmarks is particularly disturbing to fiscal conservatives, who continue to be shocked by earmarks like the Bridge to Nowhere, sponsored by Sen. Ted Stevens (R-Alaska), or the “mother of earmarks” proposed by Rep. Tom Davis (R- 11th), a $1.5 billion slush fund for Metro.


Furthermore, Wolf’s continued and unabashed support for extending the Metro to Dulles Airport, a $4 billion boondoggle before considering cost overruns that could double the cost of this project, has alienated fiscal conservatives who remain in shock and awe over this proposed lavish expenditure of scarce taxpayer dollars for the benefit of a few well connected landowners (See “Metro Monomania” and “Bottomless Pit,”). According to government studies, the rail extension will do nothing to alleviate the traffic gridlock, while siphoning billions from other viable transportation projects in the region.


Wolf’s recent endorsement by the Washington Post, a liberal newspaper that consistently endorses Democrats over Republican candidates, also has prompted conservatives to take notice.


Whatever happens November 7, voter frustration with Rep. Wolf makes a good argument in support for term limits. Prolonged exposure to Washington’s corrupting environment alters the basic nature of the people we elect to represent us. The Republican candidate running in 2006 appears to be a very different person from the candidate first elected to represent the 10th District some 26 years ago.


So, on Election Day, conservative voters are left with a major dilemma: Vote for an incumbent who increasingly ignores them or vote for a liberal, big- government Democrat. Wolf probably will win no matter what conservative voters do. On the other hand, if conservatives cut into Wolf's margin by refusing to vote for either candidate, he just might take notice of the silent majority that has provided the foundation of his support over the years.


-- October 23, 2006








Phillip Rodokanakis, a Certified Fraud Examiner, lives in Oak Hill. He is the managing partner of U.S. Data Forensics, LLC, a company specializing in Computer Forensics, Fraud Investigations, and Litigation Support. He is also the President of the Virginia Club for Growth.


He can be reached by e-mail at [email protected].


Read his profile here.



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