This article was published by The McAlvany Intelligence Advisor on Friday, November 6, 2015:
The National Rifle Association (NRA) has described New York City’s former mayor Michael Bloomberg as “a billionaire, Boston-grown evangelist for the nanny state” who is “beholden to nothing except his own ambitions … [establishing] himself as a kind of national gun-control vigilante.” When John Tkazyik, mayor of Poughkeepsie, New York, learned what Bloomberg’s real purpose and intent was behind Bloomberg’s Mayors Against Illegal Guns (MAIG), he resigned:
MAIG became a vehicle for Bloomberg to promote his personal gun-control agenda: violating the Second Amendment rights of law-abiding citizens….
It didn’t take [me] long to realize that MAIG’s agenda was much more than ridding felons of illegal guns … MAIG intended to promote confiscation of guns from law-abiding citizens.
It turns out that citizens residing in Virginia have learned the same thing. Two weeks before Tuesday’s elections, two Democrats, Jeremy McPike and Daniel Gecker had each raised about $1.5 million in their campaigns to take recently vacated state senate seats and put control of that body back in the hands of the Democrat Party. A win by either of them would have done it, and so Michael Bloomberg, working through his Everytown for Gun Safety group, funded both of them. Instantly Gecker had $2.5 million in his war chest while McPike had $3 million.
McPike looked like a shoo-in, as he resided in a district that had gone for Obama 63-35 over Romney in 2012. Gecker’s odds were a little longer, but with the infusion of cash from Everytown, his chances increased greatly, or so the pundits thought.
In its editorial published on Election Day, the Christian Science Monitor said:
Everytown [for Gun Safety] entered the races for the hotly contested Virginia Senate districts … in late October. It produced a television ad campaign starring Andy Parker, the father of a Roanoke, Va., TV journalist [who was] fatally shot during a live broadcast in August.
Everytown spent $2.2 million on the campaign, raising Mr. Gecker’s haul to $2.5 million and doubling Mr. Pike’s to $3 million (twice that of his Republican opponent).
If Democrats win just one of those seats, they will have enough to form a majority in the upper chamber….
Wins on Tuesday for McPike and Gecker could be significant for gun control advocates in general and [Bloomberg’s] Everytown specifically.
A loss, on the other hand, would throw open the question not only about how much traction gun control had in Virginia (and elsewhere) but also the attractiveness to potential candidates with an anti-gun agenda of accepting Bloomberg money. For Gecker, accepting Bloomberg’s money cost him the election.
Glen Sturtevant, a local school board member and a staunch Second Amendment supporter who was running against Gecker, got wind of the influx of out-of-state money and ran ads exposing Gecker’s connections with the billionaire and his money. By Tuesday it was game over for Gecker.
In commenting on the last-minute strategy of burying Sturtevant in Bloomberg money and how it backfired, state Senator Chap Peterson, a Democrat from Fairfax, said: “The gun thing … I would have done it differently. It’s speculation at this point, but I feel the Gecker seat was one we thought we were going to win … [the gun issue] was one variable that was thrown in at the last minute.”
An editorial in the Richmond Times-Dispatch was much blunter: Gecker “made a massive mistake [in accepting ads from Bloomberg’s group] … a campaign focused on guns redounded to Gecker’s despair.”
Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe, an anti-gunner with an F rating from the NRA and a friend of Bill Clinton and his wife, invested himself heavily in Gecker’s campaign, as theWashington Post explained:
McAuliffe chose to invest substantial, personal political capital in the race. He raised millions of dollars, helping to make it the costliest legislative campaign in Virginia history. He brought in dozens of campaign operatives to identify potential supporters and get them to the polls. He barnstormed all over the state, getting hoarse in the process.
The combination of support from McAuliffe and financial assistance from Bloomberg proved fatal. Republican Sturtevant keeps Virginia’s upper house in Republican hands, to the great glee and satisfaction of its majority leader, Thomas Norment:
Today, Virginians voted for a fiscally responsible and conservative majority. Our victory is all the more impressive in that it was achieved despite the record-breaking millions of dollars spent by Governor McAuliffe, his allies, and out-of-state PACS.
This election was decided by Virginians.
The other election, pitting McPike against a Republican challenger, was won by McPike but by a much narrower margin that pundits predicted.
A tentative conclusion may be offered as a result: Bloomberg money doesn’t automatically buy elections, and may in fact become toxic to those accepting his money to fund their campaigns.
Background on Michael Bloomberg
Background on Everytown for Gun Safety
Christian Science Monitor: Two Virginia elections test new clout of gun control lobby
Washington Post: Did gun control cost McAuliffe and Democrats the Virginia election?
Washington Post: McAuliffe’s hopes for Senate majority dashed
Gun Owners of America: Bloomberg Wastes Millions in Pushing Gun Control … Once Again
Red State: Virginia voters reject the gun grabbers as GOP retains Senate