Once upon a time, a governor elected by the people for the people decided that anyone who had ever committed a felony — like murder and rape and, maybe, threatening to kill the president of the United States — should be treated just like a law-abiding citizen. With the stroke of a pen, he restored voting rights to thousands and thousands of ex-felons.
That governor was Terry McAuliffe, a longtime fundraiser for Bill and Hillary Clinton and the chief executive of the commonwealth of Virginia. He is, of course, a Democrat.
Donald Trump, a candidate for president at the time of the executive order in April 2016, accused Mr. McAuliffe of “getting thousands of violent felons to the voting booth in an effort to cancel out the votes of both law enforcement and crime victims.”
“They are letting people vote in your Virginia election that should not be allowed to vote,” Mr. Trump said in August 2016.
But the executive order took effect in January. Mr. McAuliffe wanted to restore rights to 200,000 felons but settled for fewer after courts interceded. Yet there was one unforeseen ramification of the edict: Because these ex-felons could now register to vote, they could also run for office. According to Virginia law, candidates need only be registered voters to qualify to run.
Skip ahead to Election 2017.
Nathan Larson is the Libertarian candidate in Virginia’s 31st House of Delegates district election, up against a Republican and a Democrat. And Larson is a real piece of work.
This from the Fauquier Times, a newspaper in the rural community about 40 miles outside of Washington:
“Nathan Larson, a Catlett accountant and self-described ‘red pill Libertarian’ who announced his candidacy for state delegate this week, was convicted in 2009 for ‘threatening the president of United States,’ according to court documents.
“Larson pleaded guilty in May 2009 to charges related to emails he sent the Secret Service in December 2008 stating, ‘I am writing to inform you that in the near future, I will kill the president of the United States of America’ according to an October 2009 press release issued by the United States Attorney’s Office in Colorado.
“Larson, 36, was living in Boulder, Colorado, at the time of his arrest.
“When the email was sent from Larson’s home, representatives of the U.S. Secret Service were dispatched to interview him. Larson told them he ‘stood by what he said, and that he was serious about carrying out his threat,’ the press release said.”
So Larson went to the big barry place, the stripey hole. He was sentenced in October 2009 to 16 months in federal prison and three years of supervised release.
Then he moved to Virginia to live with his parents and work as a contract accountant.
In February, he announced his candidacy for the state delegate’s seat, pledging to run on an “anti-feminist platform.” The Libertarian Party of Virginia, though, said, “Nuh uh, not our guy.”
Larson has some other brilliant ideas. He supports incestuous marriage and allowing men to have multiple wives and physically discipline them, The Washington Post reported. He wants to abolish Virginia’s Child Protective Services and restraining orders, instead requiring victims to report domestic violence and neglect to police, the Fauquier Times reported.
“Larson also posits that young women should be discouraged from going to college, saying their ‘potential, in many respects, is wasted when they devote their years of peak beauty and fertility [by] attending college instead of marrying a good provider and bearing children.’”
Some more on Larson’s past:
• In 2015, Larson was involved in a legal battle with his former in-laws for custody of his now 2-year-old daughter, who was born after he became estranged from his first wife.
• Larson reportedly admitted in written correspondence to his former spouse, who committed suicide, that he harbored some sexual attraction to both children and adults.
• According to the Colorado Springs Independent, a jury ruled against Larson’s efforts to gain custody of his daughter. Among Larson’s controversial views, which are detailed on his campaign website, is an argument that the possession and distribution of child pornography “should be legalized.”
Thanks, Gov. McAuliffe! And when you go to the polls on Tuesday to vote for a new governor, remember this tale.
• Joseph Curl has covered politics for 25 years, including 12 years as White House correspondent at The Washington Times. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org and on Twitter at @josephcurl.