A Tough Candidate Forum in Virginia Previews the GOP Playbook for 2022

V.irginia B.each, V.A. – If the November election for control of the state House of Representatives is something like Tuesday night’s candidate forum in this coastal military district, it could be a rough night for Democrats. Which could also anticipate a bad mid-term cycle in 2022.

Sponsored by the local non-partisan Civic League, the forum marked the first face-to-face meeting between delegate Nancy Guy, who won her 2019 race by 27 votes and helped Democrats take control of the house, and her far-right challenger, lawyer and Gun shop owner Tim Anderson. He is best known for defending (unsuccessfully) State Senator Amanda Chase from her Senate criticism for participating in the January 6 riot and calling participants “patriots.” Anderson has also chased away a protester who illegally entered the Capitol on a plea for an offense and without jail time. He filmed himself firing a flamethrower at what he called “Radical Democratic Agenda“Shouted” Wooooo “as it went up in flames.

The political freshman defeated favorite in the GOP primary, former delegate Chris Stolle, a comparatively moderate one who held the seat for a decade before narrowly losing to Guy.

But on stage with Guy, Anderson presented himself as a sensible person who was mainly concerned that the Richmond Democrats, who also (barely) control the governor’s office and the state senate, have some control over their power. “A balanced government is a better government,” he said.

I don’t know why I expected Anderson to come across as the QAnon shaman – my bad guy – but I wasn’t prepared for a pleasant looking guy in a blue blazer who repeatedly claimed he supported elements of that democratic agenda, the he with a flamethrower – only the party radicals went too far.

For example, on a bill that reduced sentences for prisoners of conscience for participation in counseling and drug addiction services, Anderson insisted that he liked a lot of it – “except that they explicitly put child pornography in the law.” As if Guy was controlled by the child pornography cartel. (The bill includes people accused of first-time possession, Guy told the crowd because many of them say they accidentally downloaded illegal images while visiting legal porn sites.) Laws that carry over the ruling on whether or not school offenses from high school students The police from headmaster to headmaster aren’t terrible either, Anderson said – except “if my daughter is groped on a school bus,” school principals don’t have to treat it as a serious crime.

Anderson received important assistance from debate host Al Wallace, a longtime local Republican activist, who greeted Guy with a hug but asked questions that appeared to be worked out by the Republican National Committee. He introduced the entire GOP 2021 playlist (expected to be released in 2022) and asked specific questions about the nonexistent Critical Race Theory teaching in Virginia schools, the Defund the Police movement, alleged Democratic support for “ post-birth abortion, “transgender student policy, the alleged inflationary spiral, the cost of clean-energy legislation to convert Virginia electricity … and I’m sure I’m forgetting something.

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