I’m working on a review of all the races Pennsylvania gun owners have to worry about in 2012, even though we’re still weeks out from Election Day 2011. The Keystone State will be an interesting place to be. Even though it’s been solidly blue for presidential elections, Obama’s popularity is in the toilet here.
We have a Senate race where the incumbent’s staff can’t even confirm whether the Senator is actually alive. There’s even a Facebook group dedicated to figuring out if Sen. Bob Casey is breathing. And yet, just to keep things interesting, a possibly dead Senator with a reputation of not even showing up to do his elected job as part of an unpopular party still couldn’t attract any top-tier challengers. D’oh.
The last couple of weeks have seen that change, and now we have two who I would classify as top-tier for fresh blood. They haven’t held office before, but they have solid networks in place to put together real campaigns. One ran in a heavily Democratic district for Congress and lost by pretty narrow margins in 2010, and the other didn’t have a chance to shine given that the GOP incumbent in his district suddenly “un-retired” from the race and pushed him out. Specifically, they are Tim Burns and Steven Welch.
Burns had an A rating from NRA in his campaign against John Murtha’s former chief of staff. While Welch never had the opportunity to be graded, he does have a “2nd Amendment” section on his issues webpage. (Bob Casey previously had an A rating, but that could change based on his behavior in office.)
I still can’t say much about Congressional races since we’re losing a House seat, and no one knows where the district lines will be drawn. The likely result will be two A-rated Democrats pitted against one another in a primary. Boo – at least based on the gun issue. The state races will also be big. We have at least one gun-unfriendly candidate for Attorney General – a race that will impact Pennsylvania’s ~600,000 concealed carry license holders. So, yeah, 2012 will be an interesting year for gun folks.