With less than 48 hours before the polls open in one of Virginia’s most expensive and tightly contested Senate races ever, Democrat Daniel A. Gecker joined hands with Gov. Terry McAuliffe and U.S. Sen. Mark R. Warner at a rally in Chesterfield County, while Republican Glen H. Sturtevant knocked on doors in Richmond’s Museum District.
McAuliffe capped a barnstorming tour of the state on behalf of Democratic Senate candidates Sunday in a joint appearance with Warner to boost voter turnout for Gecker, 59, a two-term member of the Chesterfield Board of Supervisors, and potentially give Democrats control of a nearly evenly split state Senate.
“We need one seat, and Dan Gecker is that seat,” the governor shouted to a cheering crowd of volunteers and state Democratic party leaders at Gecker’s field office off Buford Road in Chesterfield.When Gecker spoke, he took the opportunity to say what issues he would push if elected, and he made sure to mention gun control.
Money has flooded the 10th District in the last couple of weeks. According to the Richmond Times-Dispatch, the largest outside expenditure in a State Senate race had been $250,000 on behalf of then-Sen. Jeannemarie Devolites Davis, R-Fairfax, in 2007. This year, four candidates have exceeded that amount, with Gecker and Democrat Jeremy McPike, who is battling Republican Hal Parrish for the seat open in the 29th Senate District being the largest beneficiaries.
But the stakes are much higher for gun owners this year than in 2007. The large expenditures for a single issue is being used as a test case. From the Times-Dispatch article referenced above:
“It’s kind of a test case on how the gun issue plays out in a competitive district,” said Robert D. Holsworth, a longtime political commentator on state and Richmond-area politics.Holsworth continued later in the article:
Holsworth isn’t sure how the issue will affect Tuesday’s election in the 10th District. “Is this really going to help Dan Gecker, particularly with moderate suburbanites?” he asked. “On the other hand, does this spending backfire on him?”I spoke with someone associated with the Chesterfield County GOP over the weekend and he said he is hearing that voters on both sides are being turned off by the flood of ads and mailers and saying they are just going to stay home and not vote. Turnout will be key. Every gun owner in the 10th and 20th Districts need to go to the polls tomorrow and vote for Glen Sturtevant (10th) and Hal Parrish (29th). We don't want Bloomberg buying Virginia's State Senate.
But he added, “We’ve not seen this debated this way in the Richmond area” since then-Gov. L. Douglas Wilder teamed with then-U.S. Attorney Richard Cullen to get legislation passed in 1993 that restricted purchases of handguns to one a month. The assembly subsequently repealed the law in 2012 under then-Gov. Bob McDonnell.
Beyond next week’s outcome, Holsworth wondered, “How is this going to play in the national election? How is it going to play in Virginia in the presidential election?”