Virginia GOP Staves Off Gun Control Campaign, Maintains Control Of State Senate

REUTERS/Mike Theiler/Files

Kerry Picket Political Reporter
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ARLINGTON, Va. — Virginia Republicans managed to keep the majority of the state senate Tuesday night.

Despite tons of money flowing to Democratic candidates from outside gun control organizations funded by Michael Bloomberg, Virginia Democrat Governor Terry McAuliffe may have to put his plans of pushing firearm restrictions through the legislature on the back burner.

Virginia Republicans also held onto the state’s lower chamber, the House of Delegates.

“I need one seat to get control of the Senate and we can pass common sense gun laws,” McAuliffe  pleaded to Virginia voters Monday night on MSNBC’s “Hardball.”

Additionally, McAuliffe hoped to have more leverage to push his plans to expand Medicaid across the state under the Affordable Care Act.

One particular race Bloomberg focused his efforts on was Virginia’s 10th district Senate race. The campaign was between Republican Glen H. Sturtevant and Democrat Daniel A. Gecker.

According to the Richmond Times Dispatch, the largest advertising buy was purchased by “Everytown for Gun Safety Action Fund.” Bloomberg heads up this gun-control organization, and the group bought $700,000 of ad time on the Gecker’s behalf. However, Sturtevant defeated Gecker.

“Well it’s a shame. We did the best we could,” Senate Minority Leader Richard L. Saslaw (D-Fairfax) said Monday night.

Virgnia Democrats, however, defeated Republicans in another race Bloomberg and conservative activists sunk money into. Northern Virginia’s 29th Senate District was an open seat race that pit Republican Harry J. “Hal” Parrish II, mayor of Manassas, against Dale City Democrat and volunteer firefighter Jeremy McPike.

Although Democrats did not take the upper chamber’s majority, Republicans could not expand their numbers either, so the state senate remains in GOP hands at 21-19.

“This is a big important victory for the state GOP,” Larry J. Sabato, head of the Center for Politics at the University of Virginia, told The Dispatch. “By holding the Senate they have contained the McAuliffe governorship for its duration. Gov. McAuliffe threw everything he had into this but came up short.”

Although Virginia Republicans hold a solid majority in the lower chamber, they still cannot override any of McAuliffe’s vetoes as their hold on the Senate is still by a slim majority.