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Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Stakes High for McDonnell, Gun Owners, in 2011 Virginia Legislative Races

Over on National Review Online, Jim Geraghty writes about Virginia and New Jersey's off-year legislative elections.  Geraghty notes that in Virginia, the real contest is for control of the Virginia state senate, which is currently controlled by the Democrats 22-18 majority and describes what the election could mean for Governor McDonnell's agenda in his last two years. Virginia governors cannot seek re-election.
“We’re on offense everywhere,” boasts J. Garren Shipley, communications director for Virginia’s Republican party. “All 16 of our incumbent Republican senators are in fine shape — only three have Democratic opposition. Two of our guys were drawn out, but we have two GOP-leaning open seats in exchange: the 22nd district in Central Virginia and the 13th district in Northern Virginia. Both look pretty good at this point.”
The Virginia GOP is putting a big effort into trying to make inroads back into Northern Virginia, a place where there is currently not a single GOP state senator.
A big potential storyline of this year’s races could be the Republican comeback in Northern Virginia. The competitive senate races include senator Chuck Colgan’s bid to hold off Republican Tom Gordy in the 29th district, which includes Manassas, Manassas Park, and part of Prince William County; senator George Barker’s bid to hold off Republican Miller Baker in the 39th district, which includes parts of Fairfax and Prince William County and part of Alexandria; and senator Toddy Puller’s effort against former delegate Jeff Frederick in the 36th district, which includes parts of Fairfax, Prince William, and Stafford counties.
While there are high stakes in this election for Governor McDonnell, gun owners have an equal stake.  If the GOP wins a majority, gun owners may have a real shot at repealing Virginia's 20 year-old handgun rationing law.  If the Democrats retain control, we may have to wait another four years before having the opportunity to repeal the law.  Despite the fact there are a handful of pro-rights Democrats in the senate, the leadership is decidely anti-rights, and will continue to kill repeal of one handgun-a-month as they did two years ago.

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