A Virginia state delegate who mocked “thoughts and prayers” in his campaign ads lost two elections in one day, one a stunning upset.
State Delegate Mark Levine, an outspoken liberal from suburban Washington, D.C., got just 11 percent of the vote in his race to be the Democrat nominee for lieutenant governor, finishing 27 points behind the winner, fellow northern Virginia Delegate Hala Ayala.
But he also managed to lose re-nomination to his own House seat, losing by nearly 20 percent to a little-known one-term local city councilman. Elizabeth Bennet Parker is the new Democrat nominee and likely state delegate after trouncing Levine 59 percent to 41 percent for his own seat.
Levine’s blowout losses come after he heavily ran a campaign ad in which he mocked “thoughts and prayers” to victims of gun violence.
The ad begins with the claim “Every fifteen minutes, an American is shot dead with a gun.” Two-thirds of those, however, are suicides. Many nations with near-total gun bans have higher suicide rates than the United States.
The ad then cuts to a video of Republicans offering their prayers to victims of gun violence, which is lower in the United States than in many countries that adopted Levine’s anti-gun views.
After vowing to criminalize most private gun ownership, Levine smugly chirps “Thoughts and prayers just aren’t cutting it.”
Levine has made numerous false claims about guns, gun rights, and gun owners, such as a claim on his website that the AR-15 rifle, invented in 1956 by an American, “was originally used by the Nazis.”
A strident anti-gun activist, Levine has made opposition to most private gun ownership the centerpiece of his three terms in office. He authored a bill that criminalized many common firearms which passed the House, but was scuttled in the Senate after Democrats realized the potential voter backlash.
While both Levine and Parker are stridently anti-gun, Parker rarely mentioned the issue, preferring to campaign on race issues. Both candidates are white.
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