August 8, 2019 News

New York Times: Will Shootings Sway 2020 Voters? Look First to Virginia Races


by Democratic Party of Virginia

New York Times: Will Shootings Sway 2020 Voters? Look First to Virginia Races

KEY POINTS:

At door after door, house after house, Dan Helmer, a Democrat running for the Virginia House of Delegates, found voters of both parties telling him one thing as he canvassed for support Tuesday night: Do something about the mass shootings.

[...] 

The issue is already highly charged in Virginia, which had its own mass shooting in May, when 12 people were killed in a Virginia Beach municipal building. The massacre prompted the Democratic governor, Ralph Northam, to call a special session in July and ask lawmakers to consider a package of eight gun control proposals, including banning assault-style weapons and implementing universal background checks. Using their razor-thin majority, Republicans ended the session after 90 minutes and referred the gun control questions to a state crime commission, which it asked to present a report on the issue a week after Election Day. 

[...] 

While Republicans hope to lower the temperature on gun politics, Democrats are trying to keep it high. Mr. Helmer’s pitch to voters begins with his Army service in Afghanistan and Iraq and pivots directly to a call for new gun restrictions. [House of Delegates Speaker Kirk] Cox’s Democratic challenger in the suburbs south of Richmond, Sheila Bynum-Coleman, tells voters of how her teenage daughter survived being shot outside a party in 2016. “People want to see something done now,” she said in an interview Wednesday. “That is the No. 1 thing that we are hearing out in the community, especially after what has happened this weekend, is that we want to see something done now.” See below from the New York Times:

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New York Times: Will Shootings Sway 2020 Voters? Look First to Virginia Races

By Reid Epstein 

August 8, 2019At door after door, house after house, Dan Helmer, a Democrat running for the Virginia House of Delegates, found voters of both parties telling him one thing as he canvassed for support Tuesday night: Do something about the mass shootings. “I have it on the TV right now,” Reza Darvishian, a State Department security engineer, told Mr. Helmer on the porch of his home. “I’m sick of listening to all of this stuff.” That’s not what the Republican incumbent in the race, Tim Hugo, says he is hearing from his constituents. Gun violence is of little concern to voters, Mr. Hugo said. Instead they  want to talk about the same issues that have animated suburban voters for the generation he’s been in office. “I ask people, ‘How can I help?’” Mr. Hugo said. “The answers that come back are transportation, schools, taxes and even illegal immigration.” The mass shootings in El Paso and Dayton, Ohio, last weekend have rebooted the national discussion over gun violence and ignited a bitter fight between Democrats and President Trump over whether his divisive rhetoric encouraged the violence. Now Virginia’s off-year elections in November loom as the first political battlefield on the issue. Republicans hold only one-vote majorities in both the House and Senate. Democrats are aiming to capture both chambers and pass new gun control legislation next year. With little expectation that Republicans who control the Senate and the White House will enact significant measures on firearms, the Virginia elections will help measure the potency of the issue with voters after a series of mass shootings that has outraged many Americans. And it will match the resources of the movement’s biggest supporter, former New York City Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg, against the National Rifle Association, the long-dominant Virginia-based gun rights organization that faces internal turmoil and a steady loss of influence. The 2018 midterms marked the first time the N.R.A. was outspent by gun control groups in a national campaign. The issue is already highly charged in Virginia, which had its own mass shooting in May, when 12 people were killed in a Virginia Beach municipal building. The massacre prompted the Democratic governor, Ralph Northam, to call a special session in July and ask lawmakers to consider a package of eight gun control proposals, including banning assault-style weapons and implementing universal background checks. Using their razor-thin majority, Republicans ended the session after 90 minutes and referred the gun control questions to a state crime commission, which it asked to present a report on the issue a week after Election Day. Read the full article here

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