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Friday, November 6, 2015

The Trace, Others, Spin Narrative of Role Guns Played in 10th District Loss

Bloomberg's anti-gun mouthpiece The Trace, has picked up the narrative first offered in the Washington Post yesterday by Delegate Scott Sorovell, claiming that talk of gun control did not drive turn out up in Powhatan, costing Dan Gecker the race.  Both pieces look at how retiring State Senator John Watkins performed in his last election (2011), and then note that Sturtevant underperformed Watkins by 4% in Powhatan and underperformed Watkins in Chesterfield as well. From The Trace:

  • In a four-way race, Gecker lost with 47 percent to Glen Sturtevant’s 49.7 percent. In 2011, the Democratic Candidate, David Bernard, lost to then-incumbent GOP Sen. John Watkins by 13 points. (The 2011 election provides the best comparison, because there was also no governor’s race then to naturally increase turnout.)
  • Gecker’s share of the Powhatan vote was 22.1 percent — virtually the same as the 22.3 percent Bernard received in 2011. What’s more, despite its increased turnout, Powhatan delivered a smaller slice of the district’s overall votes than it did four years ago. In 2011, the county accounted for 22 percent of the ballots cast in the district. In 2015, that fell to 18 percent.
  • In the city of Richmond, turnout rose significantly from 2011 levels — but Gecker’s 67.5 percent of the vote was again virtually the same as the 67.1 notched by the Democratic candidate four years ago.
  • Gecker did much better in the third geographic portion of the district, suburban Chesterfield County. There he took 41.7 percent of the vote, compared to the 30 percent recorded by Bernard in 2011.
  • Sorovell pretty much said the same in yesterday's Post Op/Ed.  What neither The Trace or Sorovell mention is Watkins was a 26 year incumbent in 2011 running against a relatively unknown candidate.  Watkins has deep ties in the area thanks to his family's Watkins Nurseries business.  Also not mentioned is the fact that Gecker lost his home precinct as well as his Board of Supervisors District part of the 10th.  Gecker has represented the predominately Republican district as a Democrat on the board for eight years, which likely accounts for the difference in Democrat votes cast in the Chesterifeld part of the district in 2015 vs. 2011. 

    Sorovell stuck closer to the gun ban lobby's talking points in concluding his article than did The Trace.  Sorovell said Northern Virginia no longer agrees with the NRA's position and the rest of the state is not far behind.  At least The Trace admitted the focus on gun control did not appear to increase Democrat turn out in the City of Richmond, which is what has the gun ban lobby scratching its head.  The only thing the gun ban lobby has to hang its hat is they spent $1.5 million to hold a district that gave Barack Obama 62% of the vote in 2012 and was already occupied by an NRA-PVF  "D" rated Democrat.

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