Anti-gunners across the nation are reveling in the victory of Terry McAuliffe in the hotly-contested Virginia Governor’s race with claims that McAuliffe’s “F” rating by the National Rifle Association indicates the American people are rejecting the so-called gun agenda.
But in reality, the McAuliffe victory proves once again the powerful roll that money plays in political elections in our fair nation. McAuliffe was expected to easily win the election, but ended up barely squeaking out a victory on election night despite dramatically outspending his opponent.
In the days leading up to the Virginia election, McAuliffe outspent Republican challenger Ken Cuccinelli $705 to $285k. The Governor-elect also enjoyed support from Michael Bloomberg’s well-funded anti-gun group to the tune of $346,000. Further, a rich Texas Democrat funded a professional signature-collection effort to get Libertarian Robert Sarvis on the ballot in the hopes of taking away votes that would otherwise have been placed for the Republican.
McAuliffe outspent his Republican challenger by nearly $15 million and raked in funding by some deep-pocketed political interests, including a nearly $2m donation by the Virginia League of Conservation Voters, the Sierra Club ($464,000) and Tom Steyer, a California billionaire, who contributed at least $2m for television and other media ads for the Democrat. McAuliffe’s negative advertising campaign surpassed that of Cuccinelli’s nearly 10 to 1.
“Democrats have abandoned their initial revulsion about outside money in favor of a recognition that they have to play and win by the same political rules as their opponents,” wrote the Politico. Republicans are often accused of representing the rich elite, but when it comes to fundraising, it is tough to match the financial resources of wealthy American liberals.
It is disingenuous – at best – to try and link the McAuliffe victory to voter-rejection of gun freedom and the National Rife Association. The fact of the matter is McAuliffe ran a well-funded campaign and out-fundraised and out-spent his Republican challenger by a large margin.
On the contrary, the fact that Cuccinelli did so well against the well-funded McAuliffe in an election where the Democrat was widely expected to run away with the election suggests a very different trend. It was not McAuliffe’s anti-gun agenda that got him elected. Instead, it was his position on Obamacare that nearly secured his defeat.
There is no shortage of rhetoric from both sides after McAuliffe’s narrow victory, but it does not change the fact that the Democrat nearly snatched defeat from the jaws of victory due to his support of Obamacare, clearly one of the most unpopular pieces of legislation to ever escape the walls of Congress.
Instead of grasping at straws under the lazy pretext of some gun-control referendum, McAuliffe would be wise to recognize the Virginia governor election results for what it truly is: a well-funded victory in a race that should have been a walk in the park, grasping tight to a failed piece of legislation that almost sent him packing, in one of the most gun-friendly states in the union.
Money well spent, right Mr. McAuliffe?