The anti-President Donald Trump wave has benefited Democratic candidates across the country. In Virginia, a Democratic win over a National Rifle Association-backed candidate couldn’t have been more significant, as the winning candidate lost his girlfriend in 2015 to a gun-toting former reporter.
Chris Hurst, 30, vowed to run for the Virginia House of Delegates after his girlfriend, Alison Parker, was fatally shot while broadcasting live for WDBJ7 news station in 2015. Parker, along with her cameraman, Adam Ward, were killed by ex-WDBJ7 journalist Vester Flanagan, who later shot himself.
Now, Hurst is a delegate for the 12th district of Virginia’s House of Delegates after receiving 54.33 percent of the votes.
His opponent, the Republican incumbent Joseph Yost, has an A grade from the NRA based on his track record of supporting gun rights. Hurst, on the other hand, has a D grade.
The decision to leave journalism in order to try his luck in politics was based on his need to “fight for those who are most vulnerable,” he wrote. Instead of pressing for change from the sidelines, he added, he would be getting his hands dirty in order to reduce gun violence.
As a candidate, Hurst said that he would be focusing on individuals who are “most susceptible to homicide and suicide from firearms” by pushing for reforms and policies that would protect them. He said he also wants to work on increasing access to mental health care in the state.
“My career in news was fulfilling, but instead of asking questions, I became focused on finding solutions,” he said.
Now that he has the power to put these solutions in practice, it’s safe to say NRA members aren’t too happy. Regardless, what matters is that a great deal of gun control advocates in Virginia — and across the country — are thankful he won.