RICHMOND — Freshman Rep. Barbara Comstock (R-Va.) is in the middle of a competitive reelection race, but that doesn’t mean she can’t look ahead.
A series of domain names snapped up on her behalf suggest she may want to run for Senate someday.
Comstockforsenate.com, comstockforsenate.org, barbaracomstockforsenate.com and barbaracomstockforsenate.org are registered to Arena Communications, the congresswoman’s digital consultant.
The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee unearthed the domain names weeks ago. But they drew more attention recently, when Comstock’s Democratic rival held them up as proof that Comstock has no long-term interest in her House job.
“She’s already bought those domain names,” Democrat LuAnn Bennett told a meeting of the Clarke County Democratic Committee, the Winchester Star reported this week. “That doesn’t show a whole lot of commitment to the 10th District, if you ask me.”
Comstock’s spokesman, Jeff Marschner, declined to comment on the domain names, saying only that she is focused on opioid legislation and other matters important to her district.
“That is the Congresswoman’s focus,” he said via email.
Both of Virginia’s senators are Democrats — Timothy M. Kaine, whose term ends in 2018, and Mark R. Warner, whose term ends in 2020.
Comstock is hardly the only politician to hold a domain name for a race that could be far down the road — or in the rearview mirror. Warner, who considered a 2008 bid for president, still owns the rights to warnerforpresident.com.
“In 2006, it was a demonstration of excellent staff work,” said Warner spokeswoman Rachel Cohen. “Ten years later, it might be time to cancel the automatic renewal.”
Political domain-name purchases can be acts of self-defense as much as naked ambition: A whole industry has sprung up around domain-name speculators, who hope to sell the rights back for a hefty profit.
Kevin Boyd of Lake Dallas, Tex., read an article about domain-name speculating and another about potential 2020 presidential contenders. Then he bought the rights to five domain names for a total of about $80 a year. Among them: timkaineforpresident.com.
“It was one of those things, ‘Maybe I can make some money off this if someone really wants this bad enough,’ ” said Boyd, 36, who works for an oil and gas broker and said he knows nothing about Kaine.
The rights to markwarnerforpresident.com belong to Robert Land, a resident of Bristol, Va., who appears to be a fan of the senator but also uses the site to direct people to his editing business. Land did not respond to messages seeking comment.
“If you don’t buy ‘ComstockForSenate,’ maybe the Democratic Party buys ‘Comstock for Senate,’ said Stephen Farnsworth, a University of Mary Washington political scientist. “This is what smart politicians do.”
Jennifer Jenkins contributed to this report.