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Allyson Schwartz’s Bad Night – A PA Primary Round-Up

Yesterday was primary day in Pennsylvania, and the big race to watch was to see how the Democratic primaries shaped up since those were the main contested races. NRA also offered a few endorsements, so we’ll look at how things shaped up.

Governor’s Race
I can report with 100% certainty that Tom will win the gubernatorial election in November. Unfortunately, we don’t know which Tom – Corbett or Wolf – it will be.

The biggest news from last night is just how terribly Rep. Allyson Schwartz did in an all-Democratic election. She was one who many people wondered if she would be a bit too liberal for a pretty purple state, but the Democratic voting base gave her an embarrassingly low second place finish last night – 40 points behind Tom Wolf. Instead, it turns out that she was ripped apart by progressives who were horrified by the fact that she has, at times in her nine year Congressional career, worked with moderate Democrats. Basically, the fact that she had a record to tear through worked against her.

For the gun issue, it’s not really good news or bad news. On one hand, the Democratic candidate with the lowest grade from Ceasefire won the primary. On the other hand, the entire pool of Democratic candidates for 2014 are far more hostile to our rights than the group in 2010.

Tom Wolf, the Democratic candidate now, told Ceasefire that he supports their policy proposal “imposing a ban under Pennsylvania law on the sale and possession of assault weapons.” A ban on possession implies confiscation. That’s a big freaking problem there, beyond the ban on sales which is also a hugely unacceptable response.

Wolf also said he supported their idea to “imposing a limit under Pennsylvania law on magazine capacity” where they did highlight that restrictions on size vary, so that paves the way for a push to something like NY’s SAFE Act coming from a Wolf administration.

On carry, Wolf says he will oppose any form of national reciprocity, and he also added a response to congratulate Attorney General Kathleen Kane for screwing with Pennsylvania’s reciprocity agreements. Oddly enough, he didn’t back the push for an outright ban on all campus carry, and he only stated that he believes colleges must make their carry policies transparent.

Wolf also says that he wants a bill “requiring gun owners to keep firearms and ammunition in separate secure locations.” That box of ammo you keep in your range bag? That’s not secure. The shelf you might keep your ammo sorted on? That’s not secure. Oh, and you can’t just stuff it into your 800 pound gun safe bolted to your floor because your guns are in there and they must be secured separately. That’s fine, you say, because it’s not like they’ll send inspectors around for this stuff. Well, just hope you never have to call 911 for a medical emergency in your home or have a fire where public safety staff will enter your home and report whatever they see that may possibly be a violation. Tell Grandma that her ambulance for the stroke she’s having will have to wait because you need to run out to a gun shop and find a new locking case for that ammunition.

Needless to say, those gun owners are going to be given a pretty stark contrast this year at the polls.

Lt. Governor’s Race
Again, the only race here was on the Democratic side. However, there is some news to report on the gun issue. First, the NRA grades for each of the candidates were rather interesting. In Mark Critz you had a man who had an A+ in 2012 drop to a C for this primary race, but who also refused to respond to the CeasefirePA questionnaire. Then there was Rep. Brandon Neuman who actually has a current A rating who also refused to answer to Ceasefire. But the winner came from the three candidates who did respond to Ceasefire with a 100% rating.

Oddly, the winner, Sen. Mike Stack, made a very bizarre claim to Ceasefire: “The NRA has consistently given me a failing grade. I would be honored to have CeaseFirePA’s
endorsement in this election and will wear it like a badge of honor right next to my NRA ‘F.'” Um, he has always had a C-, not an F, so his statement is an outright lie. That grade is based on a voting record, too. Regardless, it’s clear that he wants gun owners to know that he’s got a giant target set on their backs.

Congressional Races
PA-13
The other negative for Allyson Schwartz last night was that she was so confident in her status as a Democratic front-runner that she said she wouldn’t run again for her Congressional seat, but she would back a close supporter for the seat. That close supporter who also tried running on healthcare, Val Arkoosh, came in dead last in a four-way primary.

Perhaps the most interesting part for this solidly Democratic seat was that the so-called “liberal lion” of Pennsylvania politics came in a very close to last third place. The race really ended up being between Chelsea Clinton’s mother-in-law who the Clintons campaigned for and the winner, a state lawmaker who was attacked for backing some level of regulation for abortion clinics, especially in light of the Gosnell issues that happened right here in Pennsylvania.

However, it’s not like the winner is a friend of the Second Amendment, either. In his last state house run, he had a D+. One might expect that to drop to an F now that he’s in a solidly Democratic district and in need of a little extra cushion against the progressive wing of the party who has him in their sights.

PA-9
NRA endorsed in this primary because of the incumbent rule, so it’s good to report that Rep. Bill Shuster won. The other two candidates had AQs, so it’s not like it would have gone into anti-gun hands if he hadn’t made it.

PA-8
In our own Congressional district, there was a Democratic primary and the one who many would hope would bring the “War on Women” and “SCIENCE!” message to the race didn’t win. The winner, Kevin Strouse, wants the absolutely terrible Manchin-Toomey bill brought back up, and wants to “ban most ammunition—whether from handguns or rifles” that he arbitrarily decides defeats body armor. He offers no definitions of the terms he’s using, no context, just simply anything that police would support. The WaPo likes him because he has no record and is willing to speak in vague terms on the issue that leaves open the possibility of supporting quite extreme or complicated legislation that risks landing non-attorney gun owners trying to comply in jail.

PA-12
The Democrats has a competition here between a man whose main hiccup with ethics was on using proper account funds to attend a Friends of the NRA banquet on behalf of his boss, former Rep. John Murtha, and a woman who has backed portions of Obama’s gun control agenda. Unfortunately, the most anti-gun candidate won the primary in this case. I don’t know what her final grade will be, as she has no previous record to run on. She’s challenging Rep. Keith Rothfus who will likely carry the NRA endorsement.

Other Races
NRA endorsed in only a handful of primaries this year, but they won almost all of them.

For voters in the 66th State House district, the new GOP nominee, Cris Dush refused to return a questionnaire based on the ? following the name and the endorsement to an opponent who wasn’t too far behind on votes. Dush claims that he supports the Second Amendment on his website, but voters should probably let him know that he should be willing to sign his name to some policy specifics.

On the bad news front, the most hostile Republican to the Second Amendment in 176th State House district in Monroe County has a 19 vote lead right now. The county claims that all precincts have reported, but I’m not aware if any absentee ballots have been counted yet. Unfortunately, Jack Rader, Jr. returned a questionnaire with a pretty dismal C- rating, and local GOP voters opted for him over a candidate with an A. I don’t know what the Democrat’s grade will look like, but hopefully gun owners in that district will find some kind of friend on the ballot.

In one five-way Republican primary for the 17th State House district, one of the losers was the only GOP candidate to refuse to answer a questionnaire. Unfortunately for voters in that area, both Democrats also refused to answer questionnaires. There was a similar outcome in the four-way GOP contest for 169th State House district with the only GOP candidate refusing a questionnaire losing.

4 Responses to “Allyson Schwartz’s Bad Night – A PA Primary Round-Up”

  1. Dave says:

    Absentee ballots are counted in the polling location where the voter is registered, so they’re already counted. The only absentee ballots that could still be outstanding would be the military ballots. Now, there a always the idiots who will write in the candidate who is on the ballot. So the candidates can still claim those.

  2. Joe_in_Pitt says:

    For someone in the military, Stack’s comments about how there’s no need for “military assault rifles and high capacity ammo clips” on the streets is even more ridiculous. I really wish he could become a liability for Wolf.

    As an Allegheny County resident, it was heartening to see Molchany, a cut-from-the-mold progressive lose to Readshaw, a very pro-gun Dem in a pretty urban district.

  3. RP says:

    I hope our liberal gun owning friends take note of Stack exaggerating his anti-gun credentials to win a Democratic primary and succeeding. That needs to stop.

    • Joe_in_Pitt says:

      Stack doesn’t seem to care planting the anti-gun flag early on in the campaign, but then again most people don’t really care much for the Lt. Gov. candidate’s policy positions to begin with.

      Another interesting thing is how despite Wolf supporting some of the most extreme anti-gun measures around (AWB, mag limits, screwing with right-to-carry), he publicly hasn’t touched the gun issue with a ten foot pole, and when confronted gives the usual canned response of “respecting hunting”. I think his CeasefirePA survey needs to be front-and-center during the general election campaign.

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