Bloomberg-backed group, Va. Tech victim's brother hit Fimian in new ad
Updated 1:57 p.m.
The debates over gun control and the 2007 Virginia Tech massacre are making a late entry into the heated contest between Rep. Gerald Connolly (D) and Oakton businessman Keith Fimian (R) in Virginia's 11th district.
A group called Americans United for Safe Streets is on the air with an ad -- funded by donations from New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg (R) -- featuring Omar Samaha, the brother of Virginia Tech victim Reema Samaha. The spot shows Omar Samaha castigating Fimian because he "won't take a stand" to close the "gun show loophole":
"I know that closing the loophole won't bring Reema back. The question is: Whose sister is next?" Omar Samaha says. "Ask Keith Fimian why he's protecting criminals, instead of protecting us."
Fimian's campaign had not responded to a request for comment as of this posting.
Americans United for Safe Streets filed with the Federal Election Commission for the first time Wednesday, reporting that it had received a single donation of $153,000 from Bloomberg and was
spending all of it on the anti-Fimian campaign. The group, organized under section 527 of the tax code, normally files its reports with the IRS. Those reports show the group has received just $1,500 in itemized donations this cycle from people other than Bloomberg, who has donated a total of $1.5 million.
AUSS ran a nearly identical ad against Robert McDonnell (R) in the 2009 Virginia governor's race.
Activist groups have lobbied hard to close the so-called gun show loophole, under which private sales between non-dealers at gun shows do not require purchasers to undergo criminal background checks. Supporters of gun rights argue that very few guns involved in crimes are purchased this way, and that the Virginia Tech shooter, Seung Hui Cho, did not obtain his weapons from a gun show.
Connolly, meanwhile, also is seeking to hit Fimian on the Virginia Tech issue. The Democrat's campaign is highlighting an interview Fimiam did with DC50 in which he says, "I think that at Virginia Tech, if one of those kids in one of those classrooms was packing heat, I think that would not have happened. ... The perpetrator of that crime would have thought twice before walking into a classroom if he thought there was any chance of someone being armed and preventing him from doing that."
Fimian is not alone in making that argument, and backers of gun rights often suggest that more armed citizens would provide a deterrent to crime. But Democrats are betting that the Republican candidate's position won't resonate in the moderate suburbs of the 11th district. "Fimian's extremist agenda couldn't be more out-of-sync with Northern Virginia values," said Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee spokesman Jesse Ferguson.
Connolly and his allies have also sought to draw attention to Fimian's positions other social issues, including his opposition to abortion and embryonic stem cell research, while Fimian has tried to keep the focus on economic issues and the budget deficit.
| October 28, 2010; 10:39 AM ET
Categories: 2010 Virginia Congressional Races, Ben Pershing, Election 2010, Gerald E. Connolly, Keith Fimian, Virginia Tech massacre
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