Republicans Will Lose The General Assembly

Editors’ Note: Excerpted from The New York Times, August 8, 2019.


Image result for VA 2020 electionCentreville, Va. — At door after door, house after house, Dan Helmer, a Democrat running for the Virginia House of Delegates, found voters of both parties telling him one thing as he canvassed for support Tuesday night: Do something about the mass shootings.

“I have it on the TV right now,” Reza Darvishian, a State Department security engineer, told Mr. Helmer on the porch of his home. “I’m sick of listening to all of this stuff.”

That’s not what the Republican incumbent in the race, Tim Hugo, says he is hearing from his constituents. Gun violence is of comparatively little concern to voters, Mr. Hugo said. Instead they want to talk about the same issues that have animated suburban voters for the generation he’s been in office. 

“I ask people, ‘How can I help?’” Mr. Hugo said. “The answers that come back are transportation, schools, taxes and even illegal immigration.”

Now Virginia’s off-year elections in November loom as the first political battlefield on the issue. Republicans hold only one-vote majorities in both the House and Senate. Democrats are aiming to capture both chambers and pass new gun control legislation next year.

The Virginia elections will help measure the potency of the issue with voters after a series of mass shootings that has outraged many Americans. And it will match the resources of the movement’s biggest supporter, former New York City Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg, against the National Rifle Association, the long-dominant Virginia-based gun rights organization that faces internal turmoil and a steady loss of influence.

[Editor’s Note: As of August 17, Delegate Hugo changed course, expressing support for a “red flag” gun bill that would remove guns from some people considered a risk to themselves or others.] 

The 2018 midterms marked the first time the N.R.A. was outspent by gun control groups in a national campaign.

Categories: gun control, Issues, Local, National

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