The 34th-District House of Delegates race between Kathleen Murphy (D) and Craig Parisot (R) is a rematch of the special election triggered last November when Barbara Comstock (R) was elected to the U.S. Congress.
Murphy received 51.23 percent of the vote, and defeated Parisot who received 48.63 percent in the low-turnout special election.
Murphy received 6,419 votes to Parisot’s 6,093 votes.
“I was elected in January in a special election on a very cold snowy day,” said Murphy at the Great Falls Grange debate with Parisot in late September. “I was elected on a Tuesday, sworn in on a Thursday, and went to work immediately. My first session in the the General Assembly, I demonstrated commitment to working across party lines, to listening, to advocating on behalf of this community. My priorities have been and continue to be growing our economy, supporting our public schools, addressing our infrastructure needs and keeping our families and children safe.”
She and Parisot debated again at the McLean Community Center on Sunday, Oct. 18, a forum hosted by the McLean Citizens Association.
“When I took the oath of office it was overwhelming. I look at this job as a commitment to this community.”
— Kathleen Murphy (D-34)
“I am proud and very honored and I can tell you when I took the oath of office it was overwhelming,” she said. “I take this very seriously. I look at this job as a commitment to this community to represent you in the strongest way I can.”
Craig Parisot also gave voice to the importance of public service.
“It has a long tradition in my family. I have lived my own version of the American Dream, starting life with little and building successful companies. I’m grateful for these opportunities that I had, and I want to make sure this and future generations have the same,” he said. “My entire professional career has involved identifying trends, determining strategy and devising solutions. Virginia can and should be number one for business, number one for jobs, and number one for quality of life.”
“Virginia can and should be number one for buisness, number one for jobs, and number one for quality of life.”
— Craig Parisot (R)
THE 34TH DISTRICT has a history of close elections.
In 2013, Murphy lost to Barbara Comstock 50.64 percent to 49.21 percent. Murphy received 14,540 votes to Comstock’s 14,962.
In 2012, Barack Obama and Mitt Romney literally tied in the district, each receiving 18,688 votes, according to according to Virginia Public Access Project.
The 34th district is made up of 69 percent Fairfax County and 31 percent Loudoun County. U.S. Sen. Mark Warner carried the district by a little more than 1,000 votes in 2014. The 34th district is Gov. Terry McAuliffe’s home district, and he carried the district over Republican Ken Cuccinelli 51.86 percent to 42.28 percent in his 2013 race for Governor.
“I’M A BUSINESS LEADER. Having built two advanced technology companies in highly competitive start up environments, I deployed life-saving technologies for our soldiers and first responders, promoted women into key executive leadership roles, and provided salaries and health benefits for hundreds of families,” said Parisot. “I have first hand experience in big data, cloud computing, analytics and cybersecurity, all technologies central to the Northern Virginia innovation economy and essential to our future.”
Parisot has received $273,697 in cash contributions of more than $100 each, and $13,199 in contributions of $100 or less for his 2015 campaign, according to Virginia Public Access Project vpap.org.
Top donors for Parisot in 2015 include $22,500 from T. Christopher Roth of McLean; $20,000 from the House Republican Campaign Committee; $15,700 from Lorna J. Gladstone of McLean; $12,500 from Dominion Leadership Trust set up by House Speaker Bill Howell (R); $10,000 from himself; $10,000 from the Republican State Leadership Committee (which also gave $50,000 to Delegate candidate Danny Vargas running for the 86 district seat vacated by Tom Rust).
“ONE OF the things I love the best about this community, is all the people who sit here. We are not all here because we agree, we all sit here because we care,” said Murphy at the McLean debate Sunday.
“I have been your neighbor for over 25 years. I have lived here, worked here, raised my children here and my children have attended your public schools, our public schools.”
Murphy has received $304,117 in cash contributions of more than $100 each, and $42,683 in cash contributions of $100 or less for her 2015 campaign.
Murphy’s top donors in 2015 include $25,000 from Karen Schaufeld, a Leesburg attorney; $18,000 from Suzann W. Matthews of McLean; $12,500 from Edward Hart Rice of Vienna; $10,000 from Muslim Lakhani of D.C.
Murphy and Parisot each added just over $100,000 in cash contributions during the month of September. Murphy showed $233,143 cash on hand, and Parisot had $66,512 cash on hand as of Sept. 30, according to VPAP.
THE RACE SEEMED FRIENDLY at the Grange even when Parisot said his opponent supports the tolling of I-66 when seconds before she said she did not.
“Public private partnerships have been the answer in some instances but not when they get away from us like they did on the Greenway. The Greenway turned into a nightmare for everybody because nobody could afford it. ... We can’t let that happen again,” she said. “I know that there is a movement here to repair, rehab I-66. … People sure don’t have another way to go if you slam on another $7 toll and no I wouldn’t support that.”
After Parisot made his claims, Murphy said, calmly, “I didn’t say that I supported it. I didn’t come here to slam Craig. He’s a nice guy. We’re opponents and we’re not enemies and this should be a friendly debate.”
Parisot countered, “I believe this is absolutely a friendly debate but we’re here focused on the issues, demonstrating the contrast between myself and my opponent so you can be clear that there is a real choice,” he said.
At the McLean debate on Sunday, there was more edge when the two candidates were asked what they would do about the gun store located next to Franklin Sherman Elementary School property.
“My brother was murdered. ... I don’t think a gun store has any place next to a school,” said Murphy. “We’re working every day trying to move him to another location so he can move and parents can take a deep breath again.”
PARISOT SAID he would handle the gun store issue differently.
“The big difference is how do we solve problems. I do it quietly. I meet with people,” he said. “If we are going to do something, let’s do something meaningful, let’s not just wave our arms and get everybody all excited.”
Parisot said, “I have three primary goals: Grow and diversify Virginia’s economy, invest in education, and reduce commute times by alleviating transportation bottlenecks,” he said.
He asked voters to look at his seven step economic growth plan to move Northern Virginia forward.
“We all know someone who is unemployed, underemployed, been struggling to find work or who has had their privacy compromised, and that’s why it is imperative we act now,” he said.
But he has the uphill battle.
“I have a deep commitment to this community and a first hand understanding of what it takes and what the issues are that are so important to our families and our businesses here in Northern Virginia,” Murphy said.
“I am Kathleen Murphy and I am your delegate,” said the incumbent.