Virginia gun owners handed Democratic gubernatorial candidate Terry McAuliffe a devastating loss last night and likely flipped the House of Delegates to the Republicans in the process.
Exit polls indicate that nearly 70% of Virginians who voted for Republican victor Glenn Youngkin came from gun-owning households. If that number holds true, a full 1.2 million Virginians from gun-owning households voted for Youngkin while only 497,000 voted for McAuliffe.
“Gun owners across the state have been fed up with all the gun control that was passed in the last two years,” Virginia Citizens Defense League president Phil Van Cleave told GunsAmerica. “In 2020, over 50,000 people showed up for VCDL Lobby Day to make it clear that gun control was not acceptable. Gun owners meant it, but gun-controlling Democrats were tone-deaf. I’m betting the Democrat’s hearing is better now.”
While education and the economy were among voters’ most important issues, gun control became a contentious topic in the weeks leading up to the election.
As GunsAmerica reported at the time, a liberal political action committee ran social media ads questioning Youngkin’s support for gun rights. The ads were designed to mimic pro-gun groups and fool prospective voters into believing the Republican didn’t support the Second Amendment.
Local media uncovered the scheme, and Van Cleave urged his supporters to inundate one of the PAC’s biggest donors. In the process, the VCDL set the record straight about Youngkin and forced the donor to rescind its donation.
Alan Gottlieb, chairman of the Citizens Committee for the Right to Keep and Bear Arms, called this development the “most gratifying” part of the campaign.
“What is most gratifying,” he said, “was to see savvy gun rights voters ignore the despicable last-minute ad buy by desperate Democrats to suppress the gun vote by painting Republican Glenn Youngkin as an anti-gunner, when it is their own candidate who has a deplorable record on gun rights.”
Youngkin wasn’t the only Republican to earn a victory last night. Virginians also elected Republicans Winsome Sears as lieutenant governor and Jason Miyares as attorney general.
More importantly for gun owners, Republicans also appear to have re-taken the House of Delegates. Though some races are still too close to call, local media is predicting that Republicans are on track to flip enough seats to gain a slim majority.
This is bad news for anti-gun Democrats — and their financial backers. Michael Bloomberg spent more than $1.8 million in Virginia trying to elect his Everytown for Gun Safety candidates, but as Van Cleave pointed out, all that money just “went up in smoke.”