Wednesday, November 6, 2019

Election Post Mortem

If you went to bed early last night, you woke up to the news that the Democrats flipped the needed seats in the State Senate to take complete control of the Virginia General Assembly in a generation.  It is the first time they have had control of the House of Delegates in 20 years.

Two things most likely contributed to last night's results  - turnout and a court redrawn assembly-district map.  Appropriations Chairman Christ Jones lost his race in the 76th House District.  Jones' district boundaries were basically flipped on a 90 degree turn by the court after racial gerrymandering was found by the court.  Northam failed to come to an agreement on a new map with House Republicans which set up the court to redraw about 11 districts.  This year's election will be the only one under the court drawn districts but Democrats and the Governor will have complete control of the 2021 Redistricting.  This morning, State Senator Elect Joe Morrissey said on John Reid's WRVA morning program that Democrats should follow through on passing a resolution form a "non-partisan" redistricting commission but he said he fears Democrats will want to exact retribution on Republicans and district them into oblivion.  Morrissey said that would be a mistake.

Also, it appears that turnout could be a record for an "off-year" election.  Typically these elections feature low turnout.  Since President Trump's election  Democrats have worked hard to turn out their voters in state and local elections.

Speaking at a victory rally last night, Governor Northam said that voters had spoken in favor of Democratic priorities like gun control.  Speaker of the House Kirk Cox, who survived the redistricting of his district to defeat three-time candidate Sheilia Bynum-Coleman, said Republicans would work with Democrats where they could and "speak out against overreaching policies where we must, and always seek to guard the best interests of the people of the Commonwealth of Virginia."  Cox raised an unprecedented $1.8 million in a Virginia House race.  While Cox was sounding conciliatory, House Minority leader Todd Gilbert sounded a more ominous tone saying "Make no mistake: radical liberals from out of our Commonwealth will soon demand a return on the tens of millions they invested to elect a far-left Democratic majority."

Earlier this week, Fletch Daniels provided a warning at the American Thinker.  He said what has happened in Fairfax, Virginia, a formerly Republican bastion, is a warning for the rest of the country:
My home county of Fairfax, Virginia was once a safe suburban area with some of the best performing public schools in the nation. It's now a blinking warning sign to America as it hangs on the edge of complete disaster thanks to unchecked immigration and Democrat takeover of the government.

Even with the high concentration of government workers, Fairfax County was once a Republican bastion before it became a political battleground. The Bush/Cheney ticket won the county in a close race in 2000 and then lost it badly in 2004 due to a significant increase in Democrat votes.

Fairfax's descent into its current state started with a wave immigration, much of it illegal, into the area which washed away Republican political viability.
Former Delegate and VSSA member Bill Janis warned about this very thing - a change in the demographics - when he spoke to the attendees of the 2005 Annual Meeting.  He told us then that we needed to reach out to those new residents or they would have no connection to our 2nd Amendment freedoms.

So having said all this, what is the take away from last night's results?  One, don't throw away your base when you are running in a re-election simply because you think those issues like the 2nd Amendment that got you elected in the first place, are now an albatross.  Glen Sturtevant's campaign is a perfect example of this.  Tidewater based talk show host John Fredericks said yesterday:
This is the epitome of the silliest GOP campaign run this cycle. Does anyone have a clue what Sturdevant stands for? Or care? His television ice cream and soccer ball ads were laughable. We mocked them on our show on a daily basis. He abandoned his base on every key issue, and ran clear away from President Trump.
While Sturtevant was losing, Kirk Cox won by five points, even while his district went from being 63% GOP to 46.8% GOP (based on previous voting results).  He worked hard, and did not abandon his core or support, including his strong support for the 2nd Amendment.  Another example was Senator Amanda Chase.  She was beat up relentlessly by the Richmond Times Dispatch and an outside pack called Fund Her Virginia PAC.  In the end, she never backed away from her strong 2nd Amendment stance and she won by 11%.

In the end, the House lost 6 pro-rights members and the Senate lost 2.  Gun owners will need to be engaged so your legislators know where you stand.  VSSA will work our relationships with legislators with the intent of defeating legislation.  For instance, Senator Chap Peterson has been someone we have been able to work with on concealed carry issues.  He was a big reason that Terry McAuliffe overrode Mark Herring's attack on reciprocity.  When necessary, we will adopt what has been used in states - the courts - when necessary.

We need all gun owners on board.  If you have friends at your gun club that are not VSSA members, encourage them to join.  This is an all hands on deck moment.

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