Billionaire gun control kingpin and former failed Democratic presidential candidate Michael Bloomberg knows a thing or two about losing elections. He also has a long track record of spending millions to flip seats only to lose once voters reject more gun control at the polls.
That was the case in Virginia. Bloomberg’s arrogance showed yet again when he flipped over the couch cushions and found nearly $2 million to throw at the 2021 state-wide elections. It didn’t go well for him or gun control.
Gun rights candidates swept the big three offices of governor, lieutenant governor and attorney general. When the dust settled, Republicans flipped six seats to win the majority in the House of Delegates. It wasn’t pretty for Bloomberg or his $2 million.
The Reload’s Stephen Gutowski aptly described the results, writing, “Gun Control in Virginia Dealt Heavy Blow as Voters Turn to Republicans.”
Bloomberg spent more than $1 billion during the 2020 election cycle and came away “with huge losses.” His gun control pet projects Everytown for Gun Safety and Moms Demand Action were major beneficiaries. Most recently Everytown dropped another nearly $2 million in Virginia in hopes of securing victories for gun control in the legislature, as well as carrying former Democratic Gov. Terry McAuliffe to the governor’s mansion.
Winning the governor’s office would have been huge for Bloomberg. McAuliffe was Virginia’s Democratic governor from 2014-2018 and his gun control platform this go-around was more far-reaching than his previous term.
He declared firearms to be a “public health crisis” from the campaign trail. He also supported a sweeping gun control agenda that included banning the most popular selling semiautomatic rifles in America – the modern sporting rifle (MSR) and standard ammunition magazines with a capacity greater than 10 rounds. The former governor also vouched for restricting the right to carry by banning concealed carry in “public spaces.”
John Feinblatt, president of the gun control group Everytown, was giddy about Bloomberg’s investment and the prospects of winning Virginia. In June he exclaimed, “Virginia’s elections have always been a national bellwether, so it says a lot about the strength of the gun safety movement that three gun sense candidates are running at the top of the Democratic ticket.”
Boy was he right. The problem for Feinblatt is that elections must first be won and Virginians chose the candidates who will protect their gun rights.
After the Election Day dust settled, Virginians gave gun rights candidates victories in the state’s highest three offices. Republican Glenn Youngkin pulled off a come-from-behind victory for governor. Republican Lieutenant Governor-elect Winsome Sears became Virginia’s first African-American woman to win that office. Republican Jason Miyares became the Commonwealth’s first Hispanic-American attorney general. The down-ballot races were just as bad for Feinblatt and Bloomberg. Republican candidates supportive of gun rights retook the majority in the House of Delegates.
The Reload’s Gutowski described the monumental shift. The sweep by gun rights candidates, “also represents a reversal of fortunes for gun-control…The state has gone from considering confiscating AR-15s, to electing a statewide candidate [Sears] who held one on her campaign posters in just two years.”
Another $2 million down the drain for Bloomberg and Feinblatt. Add it to the tab.
Feinblatt was correct when he said Virginia was a bellwether. Old Dominion voters echoed what millions are saying across the country. They have jumped off the fence and landed firmly on the side of protecting the Second Amendment. It’s not just in Virginia.
In 2020, more than 21 million firearms were sold to law-abiding Americans. So far in 2021, the pace is continuing and trending to become the second-highest firearm sales year on record. In Ohio, Second Amendment supporter Mike Carey won a congressional special election to head to Washington, D.C. In Minneapolis, voters rejected a “replace the police” ballot measure and in Seattle, elected a mayor who ran in opposition to “defund the police” efforts.
The failed $2 million effort in Virginia this year is a drop in the swimming pool for Bloomberg but he just doesn’t take the hint. He tried and failed in past efforts, including in Texas and Arizona, and he’s already putting a down payment on the 2022 elections.
One thing’s certain. Voters continue to make their voices heard and they are voting for the Second Amendment. It’s now less than one year until Election Day 2022 and NSSF relaunched the #GUNVOTE online resource so voters know exactly where candidates stand on firearm issues and what they’ve said in the past. It’s a valuable resource for Americans to make sure they don’t risk their rights at the ballot box.
Larry Keane is SVP for Government and Public Affairs, Assistant Secretary and General Counsel of the National Shooting Sports Foundation.