In the aftermath of the horrific mass shootings in El Paso and Dayton, and with just 93 days until election day here in Virginia, it’s important to know where candidates are coming from with regard to gun violence prevention. In many Virginia House of Delegates districts, there’s a stark contrast between a Democrat who supports highly popular, commonsense measures such as universal background checks, and a Republican who basically believes in no restrictions at all when it comes to firearms.
For instance, let’s take the contest in HD91 (Hampton City, Poquoson City, York County; 57% Kaine/54% Northam district), where Democrat Martha Mugler is running against Republican Colleen Holcomb in an open-seat election. For her part, Mugler was rated 0% by the NRA, which of course is a very good sign when it comes to this issue.
In stark contrast, Holcomb has held a series of jobs at hard-right organizations, such as Regent University, “the far right Family Foundation, extreme Christian ‘legal’ groups,” and…currently listed as Vice President of Government Relations at the Eagle Forum, “the conservative grassroots organization founded by Phyllis Schlafly.” According to the People for the American Way’s Right Wing Watch:
…the Eagle Forum was founded in 1972 and quickly blossomed into one of the most influential Religious Right organizations in history. Schlafly was infamous for taking hard-line stands on political and cultural issues that were often extreme even by Religious Right standards, such as her insistence that it was impossible for husbands to rape their wives.
Great, eh? But wait, it gets worse – much worse – when you examine the Eagle Forum’s website.
- “We oppose all encroachments against American sovereignty through U.N. treaties or conferences that try to impose energy restrictions, trade regulations, global taxes, gun registration, or feminist goals.”
- “We support immediate border security to stop the entry of illegal aliens, illegal drugs, women seeking to give birth to ‘anchor babies,’ Third World diseases, criminal gangs, and potential terrorists.”
- “We oppose same-sex marriages, tax-funded abortions and drafting our daughters into military combat.”
- “We support constitutional amendments and legislation to protect the institution of marriage and the important roles of father and mother. “
- “We oppose the feminist goal of taxpayer financed and regulated daycare and pre-kindergarten.”
- “We support teaching schoolchildren accurate American history and that we are a land of freedom and opportunity. We oppose teaching schoolchildren that America is an unjust nation and they should conform to leftwing goals of diversity, multiculturalism, political correctness, and globalism.”
Extreme, far-right, John Birch Society-style stuff. And again, Colleen Holcomb is of Government Relations for this group, so one would presume she agrees with their views.
Now, focusing in on guns, here’s what the Eagle Forum believes:
- “Restricting [sic] gun laws devalues our freedoms”
- “Restricting [sic] gun laws perpetuates the destruction of the family unit.”
- “School shootings have nothing to do with guns themselves. The common thread of these shooters has been fatherlessness.”
- “Other ideas in a positive light have included the allowing of teachers to arm themselves while at school. Schools are currently gun-free zones. By repealing those zones, a gun-carrier could stop an attack before many are harmed.”
Again, since Colleen Holcomb is VP of this group, one would assume she agrees with all this far-out-of-the-mainstream stuff. And yet, just as we’ve seen with other far-right Republicans (e.g., Jen Kiggans in SD7) running this year in Virginia, you’d never guess that she holds extreme views by perusing her website’s issues section. Instead, what you see there is a bunch of generic, presumably poll-tested material about how Holcomb wants to improve education and workforce development, “encourage innovation and competition” in the health care sector, support first responders, improve infrastructure, and even address sea-level rise (“regardless of your view on the issue of climate change”). Nothing at all like the Eagle Forum’s website, in other words.
Of course, the material on her campaign website is simply what Holcomb’s putting out as her public face, not what she actually believes, in a district that has moved nearly 20 points in the Democratic direction due to the “Bethune-Hill” racial “packing” case. So, not surprisingly – but highly misleadingly – Holcomb would much prefer that voters don’t know how extreme she actually is – on guns and basically every other issue. Which, in turn, tells us all what we need to do – namely, let everyone know what Holcomb’s actual views are, on guns and everything else, and not let her pull the wool over everyone’s eyes over the next 93 days. Oh, and of course, do whatever you can to support Democrat Martha Mugler for this highly winnable seat!