After a shared bottle of sparkling wine, a nice dinner of salmon with lime butter, and another shared bottle of white wine just for giggles, I’m ready to look at the votes in the roll call records. I said earlier that I found the 6 vote disparity on the gun ban and the magazine ban to be the most interesting. Those had pretty much the same universal opposition on the ground, so why would they not have nearly the same vote tallies?
These Senators voted against the gun ban, but voted to ban the magazines that are commonly used with those guns and so many more models:
Mike Bennet (D-CO)
Martin Heinrich (D-NM)
Tim Johnson (D-SD)
Angus King (I-ME)
Mark Udall (D-CO)
Tom Udall (D-NM)
Johnson has already announced his retirement, so this was a giant “screw you” to South Dakota gun owners. In my opinion, South Dakota gun owners need to punish his party for his vote severely in 2014. I realize that the party could put up a person with a pretty pro-gun record. But, unless the Republicans put up a nominee with an anti-gun record, I would still suggest punishing the party in order to remind them not to screw with the gun vote. In fact, I would suggest that if the Dems do put up a pro-gun candidate, gun owners should go out of the their way to contact that person and the local party officials to let them know that you’re really sorry, but you can’t support their guy/gal after the betrayal by Johnson. Ruin his political brand and the association with gun control, even if he never plans on running again. It will show that not only will you punish those who vote against your rights, you’ll hold the state party accountable for the votes.
In Colorado, Bennett isn’t up until 2016. However, the degree to which gun owners have been screwed should motivate them to stay active until then. It would be quite nice to send him back home. His 2010 election was less than a 2 point race, and he couldn’t break 50% as the winner. However, the his colleague Mark Udall is up first in 2014. Unfortunately, he had much bigger numbers on the board during his last race, winning a 10 point victory. It’s clear that one goal of passing a magazine ban in Colorado was to give political cover to both of the senators to vote for federal bans. They simply proved what we warned gun owners about – they’ll tell you they are only after the magazines that hold more than 15 rounds, then they’ll say 10 rounds, and next it will be 7 before it drops again. So, Colorado gun owners, get to work to send a message to Udall. If you can do it through a direct election loss, awesome. If not, focus your efforts on the state-level Democrats you can target.
For New Mexico gun owners, you have your own Udall on the ballot in 2014. Tom Udall is up, but I’m not sure how likely he is to beat. I don’t really know what to suggest to local gun owners there based on the 2008 results. On one hand, there’s a much better chance of sending him packing from DC in an off-year. On the other, he won by nearly 23 points. That was a better performance than Obama in the same year. Local folks are free to give their thoughts on any potential electoral punishment on that front. Unfortunately, his colleague, Heinrich was just elected and won’t be up again until 2018.
King from Maine isn’t up until 2018, so I’m not sure there’s much that can be done on that front for the state’s gun owners. I guess the best advice would be to start “investing” in pro-gun potential challengers. Give money when you can and help out with elections between now and then. The best long-term strategy in that situation is to make sure there are plenty of viable pro-2A candidates to choose from by the time it someone needs to declare. Not even Susan Collins felt the need to vote for a ban, and she’s actually on the ballot in a blue state in the next election.