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Impeachment, Gun Control, And A Farewell: Political Analysis | September 27, 2019

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Jeff Schapiro from the Richmond Times-Dispatch joins VPM News Director Craig Carper for this week's political analysis. Topics include the impeachment inquiry into President Trump, gun control backlash for Republicans, and former Virginia Governor Gerald Baliles enters palliative care.

Craig Carper:  Good morning.  Thanks for joining us, Jeff.  Good to see you, as always.  We're, we're hearing three names over repeatedly here in impeachment stories in Virginia.  These are Abigail Spanberger, Elaine Luria, and Mark Warner.  Jeff, why do these names keep popping up?

Jeff Schapiro:  The pivots by Luria and Spanberger, Democrats elected in ‘18 in Trump-carried districts, were instrumental in speaker Pelosi's decision to endorse the impeachment, full-on impeachment inquiry.  The Virginians were among seven Democratic members of the House who signed this op-ed that appeared in the Washington Post earlier this week saying that based on what was coming out of the Ukraine that they were very concerned about national security, and that the House should proceed with, with a full-on inquiry.  Of course, they had sort of been hanging back a bit.  Both of course have national security backgrounds.  Luria was a shipboard naval officer.  Spanberger is a former CIA operative.  As for Warner, he's the co-chair of the Senate Intelligence Committee.  And with the Chairman, Republican Richard Burr of North Carolina, they sent a letter to the whistleblower’s lawyer asking that the whistleblower cooperate, appear before the, the Intel Committee.  What is significant there is that this, unlike what's going on on the House side, is bi-partisan.  Of course for Warner this is just an ideal opportunity to kind of ratchet up his profile.  He stands for reelection for a third term next year.  And in a state, the only southern state that Hillary Clinton carried and in which Donald Trump is underwater in the, in the polls, this is clearly a plus.  And one footnote on this back on the House side, the seven Democrats in the House delegation who were committed to this inquiry, the four Republicans who aren't, one of them, Denver Riggleman, has been, he's been particularly outspoken.  He claims this is all nothing more than Groundhog Day, but he may be thinking about that emerging challenge for the Republican nomination in 2020 by a Falwell person, of course, the Falwells, solid backers of the president.

Carper:  Gun rights have been, long been an article of faith for the Virginia GOP, but now resistance to gun control may be backfiring for Republicans in hard fought legislative races.

Schapiro:  Yeah, this is a bit of a crack up within the, the Republican Party, particularly because of these endangered Republican candidates in the House of Delegates.   Tim Hugo up in Fairfax County, the Chairman of the House Republican Caucus, and in this area Mary Margaret Kastelberg who's running for an open seat in Henrico, both are now endorsing these so-called red-flag laws that would allow the authorities to strip people deemed dangerous to themselves or others of, of their firearms.  This is clearly a sign that these are Republicans who feel that they are in trouble.  Now over in Chesterfield County, one of the more avid supporters of gun rights, Amanda Chase, is in this very public hissing match with her advertising, her online advertising consultant over a, a piece that went up on, on Facebook that her critics say implies that she would actually shoot dead opponents of gun rights with her .38 snub-nose revolver, which she wears in public.

Carper:  At the Capitol.

Schapiro:  At the Capitol.  And this is one of those, one of those developments that perhaps further trivializes Senator Chase, who's already had her share of embarrassments this campaign season.

Carper:  And on a somber note, a sad announcement about a former Virginia governor of consequence.

Schapiro:  Ah, yes, Gerry Baliles.  This is very much a profile in courage.  He has cancer.  He has been quietly fighting it for years.  There has been an announcement that nothing more can be done for the former governor, a Democrat.  He's now in palliative care, and he is doing now at this point in his life what he did when he was in office.  He is setting an example for Virginians, this time for bravery.

Carper:   That's all the time we have.  Thanks to Jeff Schapiro, political columnist at the Richmond Times-Dispatch.  Jeff, we will catch up again next week.

Schapiro:  See you Friday.

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