With several races yet to be determined, we do know that Republicans have gained a majority in the U.S. Senate. With this change, pro-rights forces have also strengthened their hand in the chamber. Here in Virginia, it appears that NRA “C” rated Senator Mark Warner has survived a scare from Republican Ed Gillespie with Warner clinging to a lead of just under 13,000 votes, although Warner has yet to claim victory and Gillespie has yet to concede. It is possible that neither will happen until the state canvass votes is complete. One note on the Gillespie race, if all of the people who cast a vote for 7th District GOP candidate Dave Brat and 10th District GOP candidate Barbara Comstock had also cast their ballots for Ed Gillespie, he would be celebrating victory. For instance, in Chesterfield County, Gillespie underperformed the two GOP House Candidates also on the ballot (Chesterfield is split between the 4th and 7th Congressional Districts) by almost 5500 votes – almost half of his overall margin of loss. How people could vote for Dave Brat and then cast a vote for Mark Warner, someone who has supported Barack Obama 97% of the time, is beyond me.
Even though he is likely to win, Warner has to be smarting this morning. Dan Palazzolo, a professor of political science at the University of Richmond, told the Richmond Times Dispatch:
“Voter turnout matters greatly. Too many Democrats stayed home, which is as much a reflection on Warner than Obama. He has lost 15 percent of his vote share from 2008.”
Over all, it was a good night for gun owners but there were some While candidates supporting firearm freedom won across the nation, gun owners in Washington State suffered a loss with the passage of Initiative 594 (I-594). That is the initiative that supporters said would require background checks before you sell your privately owned firearm to another private individual, but in reality does much more. I-594 was approved with about 60% of the vote and the competing initiative I-591, which would not allow any background checks that exceeds what federal law was losing with about 55% of the vote against. The gun ban lobby is already gathering signatures for a similar initiative in Nevada, and future campaigns are being planned for Arizona and Maine. Look for them to push even harder for such a law in Virginia from the General Assembly. Virginia is not an initiative state and their only avenue is to get the General Assembly to pass a law.
So, this election is behind us (with one runoff to be held in Louisiana) and we now look forward to the General Assembly elections in Virginia in 2015 where all 100 seats of the House of Delegates and 40 seats in the State Senate are up. We have a very slim pro-rights margin in the State Senate and we need to protect and hopefully build in that next year. Gun owners and take a break and enjoy the holidays, but then it’s time to get back to work in 2015.