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VA – GUN CONTROL – Virginia in the Crosshairs

National Gun Control groups are pouring money into Virginia ahead of the state’s November legislative elections, seeking to energize voters frustrated by the way Republican lawmakers shut down a special session on gun violence called in the wake of a deadly mass shooting in Virginia Beach this spring and hoping to score a win in what some say is a bellwether for next year’s national races. According to recent polling, gun violence is the most important issue to Virginia voters heading into next month’s election. And with all 140 seats up for grabs in the state legislature next month, the stakes could not be higher for either side: House Republicans, who lost 15 seats in 2017 but eeked out a razor-thin majority, are eager to claw back some of those flipped districts, while Democrats are hoping to build on the state’s decided leftward shift in recent years and capture both chambers of the General Assembly for the first time since the 1990s. Republicans currently hold a one-seat majority in the House of Delegates and the state Senate, with a vacancy in each chamber. Gun policy is teed up to be a defining issue: Seventy-five percent of Virginians say it is “very important,” more than those who say the same about education, health care or President Donald Trump, according to a recent Washington Post-Schar School poll. And the bloc of voters who say gun policy is an important issue is split almost evenly between Democrats and Republicans, suggesting that both sides are animated around the debate. But it’s not clear how that enthusiasm will transfer at the ballot box, particularly among conservative voters who regularly vote Republican and tend to support gun rights.  [full article]

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