“Virginia’s process is something of a free-for-all and that’s why there are so many fights over the process,” said Stephen Farnsworth, a political science professor at the University of Mary Washington. “Individual candidates will prefer different nomination mechanisms because they think they will be more advantageous.”
Stephen Farnsworth, a professor of political science at the University of Mary Washington in Fredericksburg, Virginia, suggests it might: “The price of retaining the Republican majority in the legislature will probably involve a serious step toward increasing gun control in the state,” he says. “No action on gun control may very well be the issue that establishes Democratic majority control in both chambers.”
“There’s no doubt the 13th District is crucial to Republicans who are hoping to keep the state senate in their majority,” said Stephen Farnsworth, a professor of political science and international affairs at the University of Mary Washington in Fredericksburg.
“This is how the politics of Virginia have changed so dramatically in just a few years,” said Stephen Farnsworth, a political scientist at the University of Mary Washington in Fredericksburg. “For decades, any Democrat who talked about tightening the rules on guns was taking a big political risk. The risk in 2019, in the wake of the tragedy of Virginia Beach, would be borne by Republicans.”
Republicans are in a risky position, though, because opinion polls have consistently shown that most Virginians favor stricter gun laws, said Stephen Farnsworth, a political scientist at the University of Mary Washington. “Failing to respond to that public feeling, particularly in the aftermath of Virginia Beach, would be politically problematic for Republicans,” Farnsworth said. He added that Northam will get credit if the legislature acts, while a lack of results would give Democrats something to blame on Republicans this fall.
“If the Republicans bottle everything up in committee the way that occurred during the general session, the Republicans are probably going to lose their legislative majorities and these bills may very well pass next year,” says Farnsworth.