The Virginia legislature is just two seats away from flipping to Democrats, one in the House of Delegates and one in the Senate, and we’re not the only ones aware of this potentially momentous shift. So are the bad guys.
The NRA has just dropped a staggering $200,000 donation into Republican House Majority Leader Todd Gilbert’s political action committee. From there, he’ll launder the NRA’s blood money by giving it to fellow Republicans trying to hold the House. The NRA has donated less than $1 million to legislators over the past 23 years, so this is indeed unusual. And a sign of panic both by the NRA and the state Republicans. Stephen Farnsworth, a political science professor at the University of Mary Washington, says so, too. “[It] means the Republicans are worried about losing their majorities and are bringing out the financial big guns, so to speak.” Terrible puns aside, yup.
It’s also a reward to Republicans for blocking gun safety legislation in a special session earlier this summer. After 12 people were massacred in Virginia Beach on May 31, the Virginia Democrats came together in the special session to try to push through new gun safety measures. Republican Sen. Bill DeSteph in Senate District 8—challenged now by Daily Kos endorsee Missy Smasal—said then that it was too soon to talk about any new gun policies and that “no gun control laws would have stopped what happened” at Virginia Beach. No laws except maybe the one that he helped block in the Senate in January. That would have banned the large-capacity magazine the killer in Virginia Beach used.
“The NRA is paying Virginia Republicans to block common sense safety measures,” Jake Rubenstein, communications director for the Democratic Party of Virginia said. “Todd Gilbert, (House Speaker) Kirk Cox and their Republicans colleagues have sold their souls to the NRA, and on Nov. 5, we are going to take their majorities.”