Following the Democrats’ success during elections in Virginia last week, where they won the governor’s race and captured control of the Virginia General Assembly, some commentators predicted the state’s Democrat governor, Terry McAuliffe, now seems like “a likely presidential contender.”
“Certainly Tuesday night was a triumph for McAuliffe, who looks like a potential if not likely presidential contender,” said Kyle Kondik, the managing editor of Sabato’s Crystal Ball, a news publication hosted by the University of Virginia Center for Politics, according to the Washington Examiner.
“His pitch is simple: ‘We took on Trump in Virginia and won,’” Kondik added.
McAuliffe himself hinted at a potential presidential run during an appearance Sunday on MSNBC.
“Reverend, I’m going to finish this job strong — let’s talk after I get out of here,” he said to MSNBC host Rev. Al Sharpton after being asked about a run. “People are paying me to be governor, and that’s what I’m doing.”
“That was not a no,” Sharpton replied.
Nor was it a definite yes.
Were McAuliffe to enter the 2020 presidential election, however, he’d eventually have to address a gaffe from earlier this summer.
Following a mass shooting in June, when a deranged man opened fire at a group of Republican congressmen who were practicing baseball at a field in Virginia, McAullife falsely claimed nearly 100 million Americans die daily from gun violence.
“We need to do more to protect all of our citizens,” he said during a news briefing. “I have long advocated — this is not what today is about — but there are too many guns on the street.”
“We lose 93 million Americans a day to gun violence,” he added. “I have long talked about this.”
McAuliffe later corrected himself after being called out by a reporter, after which he stated that 93 Americans die daily from gun violence, according to The Daily Caller. However, this assertion may also be incorrect.
In an interview with The New York Times, Bob Anderson, chief of the Mortality Statistics Branch at the National Center for Health Statistics, stated that “(m)ore than 33,000 people die in firearm-related deaths in the United States every year, according to an annual average compiled from C.D.C. data.”
When this Center for Disease Control data is divided by 365 days, the average drops to roughly 90 firearm-related deaths per day. However, a major portion of gun-related deaths are attributed to suicide, not homicide, as the Times also noted.
“Suicides account for about 60 percent of firearm-related deaths, and homicides about 36 percent,” the piece stated.
When this crucial bit of information is taken into account, the number of daily deaths related to gun violence dwindles to around 33.
Liberal media fact-checking sites, including FactCheck.org and Snopes have yet to highlight the vast difference between CDC data, and McAuliffe’s claims.
As of November, McAuliffe had not yet addressed his misstatement.