At Monday’s “After Virginia Votes” event at GMU in Arlington, Jeff Ryer and of the Virginia Senate Republican Caucus had some fascinating thoughts on Michael Bloomberg’s $2-million+ pro-gun-safety TV advertising buys in support of Democrats Jeremy McPike and Dan Gecker in the closing ‘days of this year’s Virginia State Senate campaigns.
According to Ryer, Republicans were very hopeful about winning the Parrish vs. McPike race, despite it being a strongly Democratic district. They were hopeful, that is, “right up until the time this little short guy with gray hair [Michael Bloomberg] showed up with $1.6 million.” Republican Ryer added that the ads by Bloomberg’s “Everytown for Gun Safety” seriously hurt Parrish among voters outside of Manassas City, where Parrish is Mayor and people know him well.
Or, to put it another way — and Ryer certainly doesn’t come out and say this overtly, but it’s strongly implied — it appears that Virginia Republicans think that Bloomberg’s ads, featuring Andy Parker and hitting Parrish on his A rating from the NRA, worked quite effectively. Hmmm…wonder what the Washington Post, Republican Times-Disgrace and others think about that, given their narrative — based on absolutely no empirical evidence, of course — that the pro-gun-safety messaging in this election either didn’t have any effect or backfired, at least in the McPike vs. Parrish race. Instead, according to Ryer, just four weeks from the election, Republicans’ internal polling had Parrish “with a pretty significant lead,” but then the Bloomberg/gun safety ads hit and…boom! goodbye Hal Parrish! Again, that’s the Virginia Republican Senate guy’s story — not the Democratic one.
More broadly, Ryer reported that the Bloomberg ad buy initially caused “unbridled panic from an awful lot of our members.” In the Gecker vs. Sturtevant race, Ryer said Republicans were able to offset the Bloomberg ads by running their own TV ads. Again, the Washington Post and others who think Bloomberg’s gun safety message backfired against Gecker in that race, should note that the main counter by the Sturtevant folks, far from touting Sturtevant’s A rating from the NRA, instead emphasized that “we support zero tolerance for gun violence” and that “we must enforce our strong federal and state gun laws.”
So…if raising the issue of gun safety in that race was supposedly so damaging for Democrat Dan Gecker, then why didn’t Sturtevant just come out and say, “hell yeah, I support the NRA, the right to won guns, the Second Amendment, etc?” Possibly because he knew that wasn’t what the vast majority of people believe (e.g., as this recent poll found, “86% [of Virginians] favor background checks to just 8% who are against them, including 91% support from Democrats, 84% from Republicans, and 81% from independents.”)?
Anyway, the bottom line is that the false narrative being pushed out by the corporate media and pro-gun forces regarding the supposed “backfire” of Bloomberg’s TV ads (which I continue to believe were mostly a colossal waste of money, massively inefficient and silly, just as the I66 tolling ads were by Republicans) never had any fact-based evidence to support it. Now, even Jeff Ryer of the Virginia Senate Republican Caucus says the Bloomberg ads caused “unbridled panic” among Republicans, while killing Hal Parrish’s chances of winning his State Senate race. Now, take that with a grain of salt, as both the Democrat and the Republican on this panel are masters of political spin. Still, I can’t wait for the media to issue mea culpas for their false narrative creation efforts. Oh right, as if they’d ever do that.