Last Minute Analysis for Virginia
By Jeff Knox
Some have been predicting that Virginia will be the key state in the race for the White House and that Prince William County could be the key region to determine how Virginia swings.
In the final hours before the election, the slight surge Barack Obama had seen in the state was deteriorating and it is looking like the state could easily go either way. For GunVoters there should be no question about which candidate will receive their vote. While Obama has offered some reassurances that he is “not going to take your guns,” he still wants to ban “assault weapons” and forbid firearms sales between private individuals. In an interview on NPR Obama said that he wanted to ban concealed carry laws too. Obama also has a clear record in the Illinois Senate of voting against the interests of gunowners and the right to self-defense.
John McCain on the other hand has a solid record of voting for gunowner rights. He has soured many rights activists with his support for closing the so-called “gun show loophole” and his campaign finance reform law, but his pick of Sarah Palin as his running mate has gone far to mend some of those fences.
Larry Pratt of Gun Owners of America has rightly pointed out that this election is not a time to refuse to vote for, “the lesser of two evils” and cast a vote for a third-party candidate – or not vote at all. The fact is, either Barack Obama or John McCain is going to be President and any vote for a third-party candidate or any vote not cast is in effect a vote for Obama, and Obama represents a clear and present danger to the United States and the Constitution. My friend Henry Heymering at Maryland Shall Issue has expressed his intention to vote for the Constitution Party candidate and I can respect his decision, but Henry has the luxury – and misfortune – of living in the People’s Republic of Maryland where his vote is basically an upraised middle finger anyway. Those of us in Virginia – who might be deciding the entire election with our few votes – can not afford to make such a gesture; the future of the nation could depend on our votes.
Of equal or possibly greater importance to the Presidential race are the Congressional races. Since Virginia elects their state officers and legislature in off-years, we don’t have the dozens of races and hundreds of candidates that some voters have to contend with in this election. We have only 1 Senate race and 11 House races to deal with and most of those are “safe seats” that are not really in play this year.
For Senate the choice is between former governors Jim Gilmore (R) and Mark Warner (D). Both have received “A” ratings from NRA based on their records as Governor and their responses to a questionnaire. Warner refused to complete a questionnaire for GOA or the VCDL-PAC though and there are many within the pro-rights movement who question his commitment to our issue. While he did accept and sign pro-rights bills from the State Legislature, he has not actively courted GunVoters in this election and has nothing supporting the Second Amendment on his campaign web site. There has also been a controversy about comments Warner made during the run-up to his gubernatorial bid. In a meeting of Democrats Warner identified the coalition of forces arrayed against them in the coming election cycle including the “Christian Coalition,” “right to lifers,” “home schoolers,” and “the NRA.” He said that these were organizations which are “threatening to what it means to be an American.” Warner first denied making the statement, but when a recording surfaced he claimed that his denial was actually an apology that was just misunderstood…
In contrast Gilmore has completed questionnaires for NRA, GOA, and VCDL-PAC and scored well on all of them. He has actively courted GunVoters and pledged to support specific legislation on our behalf in DC.
At this point the polls are showing Warner with a substantial lead, but polls have been wrong before, particularly when they fail to take GunVoters into account.
There are four House races that should be of particular interest to GunVoters. They are District 2, in the Norfolk – Virginia Beach area; District 5, in the center of the state from Charlottesville to Danville; District 10, in the Northwest corner of the state; and District 11, right next door encompassing the rest of Prince William County and up to Annandale. There is little possibility of change for better or worse in any of the other races, but we’ll take a look at each one, starting with these four.
District 2: Incumbent, Thelma Drake (R) is rated a solid “A” by NRA and GOA (and also received an endorsement from the Veterans of Foreign Wars.) She is facing a young man named Glenn Nye. While Nye answered the NRA survey with an “AQ” (“A” based solely on Questionnaire) result, he has not responded to GOA or VCDL surveys. He does own guns and shoot, but has nothing about gun issues on his campaign web site. Polls have Drake with a slight advantage.
District 5: Incumbent, Virgil Goode (R) is rated “A+” by both NRA and GOA and is indorsed by VFW. Goode has bee a leader in pro-rights issues and losing him would be a harsh blow to the movement, even to an “AQ” rated challenger like Perriello (D) who appears to be sincere in his support for the Second Amendment. Like Nye, Perriello has refused to answer questionnaires from GOA and VCDL.
Polls have Goode with an advantage.
District 10: Incumbent Frank Wolf (R) is rated “B+” by NRA and “B–” by GOA. He has been a fairly reliable vote but is a bit wishy-washy at times. Wolf is also endorsed by VFW. He is being challenged by a woman named Judy Feder (D) who has refused to answer questionnaires from NRA, GOA, or VCDL and who has nothing about Second Amendment issues on her web site.
Polls have Wolf with a strong advantage.
District 11: The seat being vacated by anti-rights Republican Tom Davis. In this race, political newcomer Keith Fimian (R) is going up against Gerry Connolly (D), the president of the Fairfax Board of Supervisors. Fimian received an “AQ” from NRA for his responses to their questionnaire, but he has not returned surveys from GOA and VCDL. Connolly is a rabid anti-rights practitioner who has received an “F” rating from both NRA and GOA and has been endorsed by the Brady Campaign Against Guns.
Polls have Connolly with a significant advantage.
The other seven races for the House break out like this:
District 1: Incumbent Rob Wittman (R) is “A” rated. Challenger Bill Day is unrated. Strong advantage Wittman.
District 3: Bobby Scott (D) is “F” rated, endorsed by Brady and is running unopposed.
District 4: Incumbent Randy Forbes (R) is “A” rated. Challenger Andrea Miller is unrated. Strong advantage Forbes.
District 6: Incumbent Bob Goodlatte (R) is “A” rated. Challenger Sam Rasoul is unrated. Strong advantage Goodlatte.
District 7: Incumbent Eric Cantor (R) is “A” rated. Challenger Anita Hartke is unrated. Strong advantage Cantor.
District 8: Incumbent Jim Moran (D) is “F” rated and endorsed by Brady. Challenger Mark Ellmore (R) is unrated. Strong advantage Moran.
District 9: Rick Boucher (D) is “A” rated and is unopposed.
The Polls open at 6:00 AM and don’t close until 7:00 PM. Most federal employees can get paid time off to vote and I have heard that Krispy Kreme Doughnuts and Ben & Jerry’s Ice Cream are offering free treats to
anyone who shows up with an “I Voted” sticker. I have a tradition of placing the sticker on the outside stock of my .45 and leaving it there until it wears off. I don’t think Ben & Jerry would approve.
Please be sure to vote, and make sure your family and friends do too.
Hat tip to VA-Alert.