|Witness the hypocrisy. The progs who whine that the NRA buys political influence outspend it ten-to-one.|
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Gun Rights Debate Fuels Historic Donations In Virginia Elections | WAMU
Petersburg resident Jay McDaniel gestures as he testifies as Del. Todd Gilbert, top right, R-Shenandoah, listens during the second day of a Virginia Crime Commission meeting on gun issues at the Capitol in Richmond, Va., Aug. 20, 2019.
Steve Helber / AP
The National Rifle Association gave a historic contribution to Virginia’s statewide elections this week, donating just over $200,000 to House of Delegates Majority Leader Todd Gilbert.
The donation is far less than the $2.5 million given by gun control advocates. But both sums show how the issue could be decisive in the November elections for the General Assembly.
“They may outspend the NRA, but they will never outwork us,” said NRA spokesperson Catherine Mortensen.
The NRA is “fully engaged,” in the election “to protect the self defense rights of every law-abiding Virginian,” she said, adding that “big-city financiers” have flooded Virginia.
One of the “big-city” bankrollers she referenced is Everytown for Gun Safety, a New York based group funded largely by Michael Bloomberg.
Everytown has committed $2.5 million to Virginia elections, including $125,000 to the Virginia Senate Democratic Caucus and $100,000 to the Virginia House Democratic Caucus. This week, the group endorsed 25 candidates running for office in Virginia, and pledged to “unleash its grassroots army” to support their campaigns.
Andrew Zucker, a spokesperson for Everytown, says they’ve spent millions in other states, including during Nevada’s statewide races, but Everytown has never contributed so heavily in Virginia.
He pointed to a poll the group conducted that found some 82 percent of voters in Northern Virginia said candidates’ views on gun rights would be important in their choice.
“What happens in Virginia I think is going to reverberate for the next year plus,” Zucker says. “It’s both an opportunity to change the makeup of the legislature and pass proactive gun-safety policy in Virginia, but it’s also a harbinger of what is to come in 2020 as well.”
The NRA’s $201,500 contribution, reported by the Virginia Public Access Project (VPAP), dwarfs every previous donation from the group since 1996, the first year VPAP has listed.
Tom Davis, who served 14 years as a Republican state delegate, says the NRA’s base has changed since then.
“Traditionally, the NRA gave to both parties,” Davis says. “Basically to rural members who were supporting their constituents and supporting gun rights. But as the Republican base migrated from the country club to the country, and became a more rural-based party, the NRA has more or less become an appendage of those rural-based Republicans.”
In 2001 the NRA gave $133,000 in political contributions, and $25,000 of that total to Democrats. The group gave no money to Democrats this year. Davis says he never accepted NRA contributions for his campaign.
Gun rights have become a flashpoint in the Commonwealth after a shooter killed 12 people in a Virginia Beach municipal building in late May.
In the aftermath, Gov. Ralph Northam convened a special session on gun safety; however, Republicans controlling the General Assembly ended the July discussion after 90 minutes. They voted to take up the issue again on Nov. 18.
Gilbert did not respond to WAMU’s questions about the NRA donation. He told the Richmond Times-Dispatch that the money “pales in comparison to the millions that Mayor Bloomberg has already pledged to bring New York-style gun control to Virginia.”
Gilbert has also opposed measures to curb gun ownership in Virginia. He published an opinion piece in favor of Project Ceasefire targeted at urban youth, writing: “We can make their schools and streets safer, and we don’t need any new gun control laws to do it.”
Democrats have seized on the NRA donation to Republicans and the shortened summer hearing as campaign talking points.
House Minority Leader Eileen Filler-Corn said Democrats had advanced bills to require universal background checks and red flag laws.
“The Republicans abdicated their responsibility,” she told WAMU. “The Democrats are ready to pass common-sense gun violence legislation.”
The NRA claimed that the hearing was “a complete taxpayer-funded distraction.”
Filler-Corn said she had given $200,000 from her political action committee to the House Democratic Caucus as a match for the NRA’s donation.
She said she saw gun legislation rising in importance in Virginia.
“This is energizing and this is mobilizing people,” she said.
All 140 General Assembly seats are up for election in November.
LIBERTY HAS NO EXPIRATION DATEDemocrats wouldn't buy a clue if it was government subsidized.
Modified by TEEBONE at Sat, Sep 07, 2019, 21:44:00
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