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After every Presidential election, there is one state that the country focuses on for the off-year cycle: Virginia.

Remember, Virginia is the state that overwhelmingly elected Republican Governor Bob McDonnell a mere year after Barack Obama won the Presidency in 2008. Virginia was the state that showed that the election of President Obama was NOT a referendum on the direction our country was headed, paving the road for the Republican sweeps of 2010.

In 2017, Virginia again stands as the state that will show the direction our country is headed.

This past Sunday, two Democrat candidates for Governor spoke at a forum hosted by Americans for Responsible Solutions PAC , a group best known because it was founded by former Congresswoman Gabby Giffords and her husband, Mark Kelly.

Historically, Virginia is extremely pro-2nd Amendment. Therein lies the difficulty for Democrat candidates. Exactly how anti-gun can a Democrat candidate be in a state that loves its guns?

One of these Democrat gubernatorial candidates, Tom Perriello, knows firsthand the benefits that can be gained by an NRA endorsement, having earned an NRA endorsement as an incumbent in 2010. Former Congressman Perriello is from rural Virginia, one of the few areas where a pro-gun Democrat is fairly par for the course. However, he took his opportunity during Sunday’s forum to distance himself from the NRA. According to the Kingstowne Patch,

[Perriello] says the NRA’s push for guns in schools and college campuses was a “turning point” for many, and he would oppose such legislation as governor.

His opponent in the Democrat primary on June 13, current Lt. Governor Ralph Northam, mentioned his time serving in Operation Desert Storm and stated,

“I know all too well what assault weapons do to human beings, and I am adamant when I say we do not need assault weapons on our streets and our society.”

Both candidates came out in support of universal background checks, an assault weapons ban, and a one-gun-a-month policy, a policy that Virginia Democrats have been attempting to pass for decades.

Both of these candidates have received out-of-state donations totaling over six figures. In Perriello’s case, the out-of-state donations have topped $1 million. This is particularly intriguing because it highlights the problem both Northam and Perriello are facing: how to keep the out-of-state big money donors happy and also gain the votes of Virginians.

In light of their current stances on gun ownership, both Perriello and Northam have received ‘F’ ratings from the NRA.

In direct contrast are the Republican candidates, who are all pro-2nd Amendment. Although they are also facing off in a primary on June 13, Republican Candidates Ed Gillespie, Corey Stewart, and State Senator Frank Wagner have all highlighted their commitment to the 2nd Amendment.

Upon seeing the lengths to which the Democrat candidates will go to appease out of state donors, liberal progressives with an anti-gun agenda, and the left wing media instead of fighting for the constitutional rights that the majority of Virginians hold dear, the choice seems clear in this election for those who advocate for 2nd Amendment rights.

Although Virginia was once a state where candidates were free to think for themselves and support the beliefs of their constituents, the Democrat candidates of 2017 appear to now be merely puppets of a larger outside agenda and should not be supported in this campaign by those who truly appreciate their 2nd Amendment rights.