ICYMI – While Virginians were enjoying barbecues and parades over the holiday week, commonwealth Republicans were in meltdown mode over new extremist comments made by three of their most vulnerable senators.
- Senator Amanda Chase placed the blame on rape victims, saying on swearing at a Capitol Police officer and flaunting a handgun on the Senate floor in an effort to intimidate constituents.
- Senator Bryce Reeves made anti-LGBTQ comments at a closed-door NRA town hall meeting, criticizing fellow Senator Adam Ebbin as “really liberal left… one of the openly gay Senators in our Senate.” This sort of rhetoric is nothing new for Reeves, who was accused of “gay-bashing” by fellow Republicans after attacking legislators for voting to confirm Virginia’s first openly gay judge.
- Senator Bill DeSteph, who represents Virginia Beach, argued against passing a red flag law, saying it was more important to guard against false accusations from spurned exes than to prevent domestic violence.
The Democratic Legislative Campaign Committee is targeting all three senators, who each represent swing districts carried by Democrats in recent statewide elections. Last month, the DLCC launched a digital campaign to hold the senators accountable for their poor records on gun safety.
The missteps by the senators are representative of the sort of extremist, incendiary positions that have dug Republicans into a deep hole in the Commonwealth. The GOP is scrambling to defend its narrow majorities in the General Assembly, trailing Democrats in enthusiasm and fundraising. While Democrats are on offense with a record number of candidates in both chambers, Republicans failed to recruit challengers in many districts.
“It looks like the pressure is starting to get to the Virginia GOP,” said DLCC executive director Jessica Post. “Republicans are trying to distract from their abysmal record, but then make comments like these that show just how extreme and out of touch they are. When Virginia Republicans reveal their true selves, we should listen.”