Support VSSA Advertisers

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Election Post Mortem

The votes have been cast and the unofficial results have been announced. So what does all of this mean. Clearly, in the State Senate, the Democrats won control for the first time in a decade and claim a 21-19 majority. In the House of Delegates, the Republicans lost a handful of seats but remains in the hands of a pro-gun majority with a healthy number of Democrats joining a vast majority of Republicans that are staunch supporters of the Second Amendment. The House will remain the firewall against any gun control law that might make it out of the Senate.

There are two ways to look at the change of power in the State Senate. First, when you look at just the number of senators that are strong supporters of the Right to Keep and Bear Arms, last night's results are somewhat a wash. We started with 21 Senators that were NRA "A" or "B" rated candidates that we could regularly count on (Bell, Blevins, Cuccinelli, Deeds, Edwards, Hanger, Hawkins, Houck, Martin, McDougle, Newman, Norment, Obenshain, O'Brien, Quayle, Reynolds, Ruff, Stolle, Stosch, Wagner, Williams) to support the rights of Virginia gun owners.

At the end of the night, we ended with 20 candidates that were rated by the NRA as either "A" or "B" candidates (Blevins, Cuccinelli, Deeds, Edwards, Hanger, Houck, Hurt, Martin, McDougle, Newman, Norment, Obenshain, Quayle, Reynolds, Ruff, Smith, Stolle, Stosch, Vogel, Wagner,). Plus you have to count the loss of "F" rated candidate Jeannemarie Devolites Davis to "C" rated Chap Petterson as a somewhat positive outcome. This means that should a gun control bill make it to the floor and it ends in a 20-20 tie, pro-gun Lt. Governor Bill Bolling will cast the tie breaking vote. Should one or two of the 20 mentioned above that are less firm in their support flip on one or two votes, as stated above, the House of Delegates will be our final firewall.

The second way to look at this is the committee structure. The Democrats will now control the committees. The two committees that see the most gun related bills are 1) Courts of Justice and 2) Local Government. The Democrats that are in line to take over the chairmanship of both committees are both anti-gun. The majority of the members of the Courts committee are pro-gun but the Republicans will loose one member and the Democrats will gain one. At this point it is any one's guess who they will put on the committee and if that will be one of the pro-gun Democratic senators not already on the committee, the "C" rated Chap Peterson, or a vehemently anti-gun newly elected Northern Virginia senator.

Local Government was more evenly divided among pro-gun and anti-gun senators. This is the committee that range protection bills are likely assigned. Last night's results could negatively impact the ability to control local governments with legislation at the state level as it relates to protecting gun ranges and the right to shoot on private property.

In the House of Delegates, "A" rated incumbent John Welch, III, lost to "F" rated Robert Mathiseson. In an open seat to replace retiring "B" rated Leo C. Wardrup, Joseph Bouchard, who did not return his NRA questionnaire, defeated "A" rated Chris Stolle. In an open seat that had been held by the retiring "B" rated Vincent F. Callahan, Jr., Margeret Vanderhye, who also did not return the NRA questionnaire, defeated "B-" rated Dave Hunt. Another open seat, "C" rated Michele B. McQuigg, who stepped aside to run for Clerk of Circuit Court, "D-" rated Paul Nichols defeated "A" rated Faisal Gill. On the positive side however, "B-" rated Manoli Loupassi defeated incumbent "F" rated Katherine Waddell. So, we have a net loss of three pro-gun House members, mostly in the northern Virginia area of the Commonwealth.

The loss of the Senate means it will be a challenge to advance pro-gun legislation. VSSA will be watching as legislation begins to be filed and will be working with the Association's lobbyist to map out a strategy for the next two years.

The support of VSSA by Virginia's gun owners is even more important than ever given last night's results. In the coming days I will be posting about the outlook for gun rights in Virginia as the demographics continue to shift in the state. If you are not a member of VSSA, you can join by downloading an application and mailing it today. Our strength is in our numbers and we need everyone to let their voice be heard.

No comments: