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Currently Browsing: 2014 Election

More Female-Oriented Political Advertising

Speaking of reaching out to more women, this is one of the first ads I’ve seen from NRA that really tries to hit at female voters.

It’s message is much closer to that of other female-centered general political advertising. It’s personal and has a specific story, which is a refreshing change from many of the ads running from the NRA commentators which are general “the world sucks and the sky is falling” kind of themes.

The fact is that advertising like this is much easier to identify with, even if someone has never been in that situation. A similar humanizing ad from Sen. Mitch McConnell is getting attention specifically because of how much it makes him seem like a real human instead of just some robot in Washington.

Just like a candidate isn’t likely to jump all over a sexual assault victim, they aren’t likely going to try and attack this woman who obviously believes that McConnell was key to her daughter’s return. These are ads that make lower information voters feel good and make them think, “Yeah, I can identify with that person if I was ever in that situation. If I can identify with them, then maybe I should consider the candidate they are backing.”

The only concern I have about NRA’s ad is that it may be assuming too much in that lower information voters have any idea who Bloomberg is backing. He’s a great guy to demonize because few people like wealthy billionaires who haven’t lived their lives telling them what to do, but that doesn’t mean they know which candidates he’s backing or exactly how he’s involved in their local races. It would be most effective if the ad was shared by local folks along with a message of which area candidates are anti-Bloomberg. Maybe that’s what we’ll see happen. With about an hour on Facebook, it’s already nearing 700 shares.

Pennsylvania Pre-Emption Became a Gun Control Battle

There were dueling amendments proposed in the Pennsylvania House this week, and yesterday afternoon, the votes came down.

Gun owners should definitely say a word of thanks to the state representatives who voted to support pre-emption reforms and thanks to those who voted against the Bloomberg-backed effort to add more restrictions (and expenses) to long gun sales. In fact, an election year is a great time to remind our lawmakers that we’re watching their votes. Even better, if they voted with us on the bills, track down their campaign and get a yard sign or volunteer to lend a hand. That’s a huge thank you that will be remembered.

NRA is asking folks to pester their senators about getting this bill moving in the Pennsylvania Senate.

Polling & Results

With Washington ready for a ballot initiative fight this November and the accompanying debate over who is and isn’t showing up, I thought it would be important to look at a couple of historical votes relevant to the subject of ballot initiatives.

One is recent history. Very recent. As in, yesterday. There were were many polls showing that the Yes and No votes on Scottish Independence were in a dead heat, and even some showing that Yes was taking the lead in the days prior to the vote. The real result was a 10 point vote against independence with massive turnout.

Another, more relevant example, is from Massachusetts in 1976. I’ve posted about how important it is for gun owners to read about and learn from this example before. It shows why we keep fighting, even in sometimes clearly uphill fights. From Dave Kopel’s article on the ballot initiative fight:

Early polling suggested that a handgun ban would pass handily. Further, in the 1974 election, voters in several state legislative districts had overwhelmingly supported measures instructing their state legislators to vote for strict anti-gun legislation. …

The final poll, a few days before, had showed Question 5 with a 10-point lead. Everyone anticipated a long night waiting for the election results. Everyone was wrong.

Handgun confiscation was crushed by a vote of 69 percent to 31 percent. Of the approximately 500 towns in Massachusetts, only about a dozen (including Cambridge, Brookline, Newton and Amherst) voted for the ban. Even Boston rejected the ban by a wide margin.

There are notable differences in that it was certainly a far more extreme policy than Washington. However, it still shows that what people feel they “should” tell a pollster may not match how they vote in a closed voting booth. That’s the kind of tendency that Washington activists need to appeal to there.

Now, NRA cannot, even if they empty their entire campaign war chest into Washington State and completely ignore the rest of the country, outspend Bloomberg and Bill Gates. They can’t. Just accept it right now that you cannot look at this situation strictly through the lens of campaign finance reports. I’m not in Washington, but I do see some evidence of NRA work. There’s a Facebook page they’ve created that partially documents some of their work, and I can also say that from the moment I met our new EVC coordinator back in March, she’s been aware of this and trying to work with local activists to make sure they have what they need and help them out. Even in our Friends of NRA program that isn’t political, we saw record turnout for people showing up to participate, even though they couldn’t quite open their wallets as much as last year. Fights like this aren’t accurately portrayed in financial reports.

These issues are complex, and there’s a chance that we may lose. However, if gun owners study their history on ballot initiatives, they’ll know these things are won with volunteers on the ground and that sometimes polls on policy efforts to support more gun control are very, very wrong when you actually stick a ballot with that issue in front of someone’s face.

Republicans Pushing Gun Issues

It looks like the Republican Governors Association thinks that pushing gun control is going to be a worthwhile attack on John Hickenlooper out in Colorado.

There’s quite a bit of fair criticism that it appears as though Republicans often tend to only turn to our issue when they can attack Democrats for it rather than doing very much in the way of positive work to advance the cause. I suspect the truth in that statement, like any issue dealing with politics, varies wildly depending on your state and region. However, I can at least say this about our GOP governor in Pennsylvania – he’s the reason that controversial gun control is not an issue in this year’s state elections, and I think that’s under appreciated by many gun owners.

Saying No to Bloomberg

NRA is launching an ad campaign to highlight what an insulting busybody Michael Bloomberg is to anyone who doesn’t want to live their life the same way he demands the little people live.

According to the WaPo, it’s starting out with a $500,000 buy in Colorado. USA Today says that it will also run nationally on cable. They also report a digital ad buy in other states like Iowa, Louisiana, Nevada, Kentucky, North Carolina and Georgia.

This buy starts now, so they aren’t waiting until the elections to do it.

Pro-Gun Sheriff Wins; Defeats Bloomberg’s Money

There’s a very scary reality that someone with as much money as Bloomberg can put more than $150,000 into a county sheriff’s election and not bat an eye. Money can make things very, very tough to fight when someone saturates the airwaves with a common message during election season.

However, there’s a silver lining in that, ultimately, money doesn’t vote. People vote. That reminder was sent to Mike Bloomberg again last night when the county race he invested so heavily in managed to stay in the hands of a sheriff who believes in the right to defend yourself and your family.

David Clarke retains his office as Milwaukee County Sheriff this morning, even though the Bloomberg-backed challenger is refusing to concede today. Boy, he sure knows how to pick the classy candidates.

2014 Guv Races and Guns

Guns are going to be a big issue in the Connecticut governor’s race. I’d like to see Malloy’s political career served up on a silver platter.  He didn’t win by a huge margin, so maybe it’s possible to knock him off. I’t we manage any of the big four: Hickenlooper, Malloy, O’Malley, or Cuomo, it’ll be a big victory. If we get two, even better. If we get three, that might be enough to re-teach Democrats “the lesson.”

If I had to pick any of the four I’d want Hickenlooper most of all, probably followed by O’Malley, then Malloy and Cuomo. Reason? We were always living on borrowed time in the other states. If we can’t hold Colorado, other states will start to fall like Dominos.

It’s looking pretty bad for Corbett in 2014, and who knows how bad that’s going to affect down ticket races. I would have thought Pennsylvania would start turning anti before Colorado. A lot of Pennsylvanians have no idea how good they have it, and how quickly that’s going to fly south if they don’t wake up.

Bloomberg’s Cash Shows Up in the Mississippi Primary

I confess that I have not been paying close attention to the Mississippi Senate primary, but now I’m curious to know if any of our readers know why Mike Bloomberg has recently donated $250,000 to keeping Thad Cochran in office. Cochran has the NRA endorsement and is rated A+, so this seems a little counter-intuitive.

My first assumption was that the PAC Bloomberg gave the money to was involved in multiple races around the country, but all I see is pro-Cochran material on their site, so I don’t think that’s the excuse. Any Mississippi voters who are paying close attention want to chime in?

Who Gabby is Giving Money To

Gabby Giffords is focusing on a local (to me) politician:

Aiming to spend as much as $20 million, the group also will weigh in for Democratic House Reps. Michael Fitzpatrick of Pennsylvania, Carol Shea-Porter and Ann McLane Kuster of New Hampshire and Ron Barber of Arizona. Barber has a special meaning for Giffords because he used to work in her congressional office and was also wounded in the 2011 Tucson shooting that gravely wounded Giffords.

Emphasis mine. Fitzpatrick is actually a Republican, but those of you who live here might get a little giggle out of that. One thing we’ve been wondering is whether Fitzpatrick will hold on to his NRA endorsement. By all rights he ought to lose it, because he signed on to the House version of Manchin-Toomey, but his voting record has generally been good otherwise.

The last Democrat we had in Congress supported bans on semi-autos. The last few challenger to Fitzpatrick returned a favorable questionnaire.

National Reciprocity & Pennsylvania Votes

A few years ago, I decided to make a note of which lawmakers sought or ran on NRA’s endorsement who initially refused to step up and support national reciprocity. After people reported calling the offices of the mysteriously missing potential co-sponsors, several stepped up and signed on.

While looking at the Pennsylvania angle again for this year, imagine my surprise when I found some key names left off of the sponsors list – again.

These are the members of the Pennsylvania congressional delegation who support the bill:

  • Rep. Mike Kelly (R)
  • Rep. Tom Marino (R)
  • Rep. Tim Murphy (R)
  • Rep. Scott Perry (R)
  • Rep. Keith Rothfus (R)
  • Rep. Bill Shuster (R)
  • Rep. Glenn Thompson (R)

I might add that Rep. Rothfus actually didn’t have the NRA endorsement last time around. He had an A rating, but with the incumbent Democrat’s record, it was issued to the incumbent.

These are the members of the Pennsylvania congressional delegation who sought & received NRA’s endorsement in 2012 against anti-gun opponents who are not on that list:

  • Rep. Lou Barletta (R)
  • Rep. Charlie Dent (R)
  • Rep. Mike Fitzpatrick (R)
  • Rep. Jim Gerlach (R)
  • Rep. Pat Meehan (R)
  • Rep. Joe Pitts (R)

For 2014, Rep. Gerlach is retiring, but the others will be on the ballot. Reps. Dent, Barletta, and Pitts are expected to be pretty safe, so I’m surprised that they are not willing to help their law-abiding license holder constituents. In fact, Charlie Cook has all three of those seats, plus Rep. Meehan, in the “Solid Republican” category as not really competitive.

In 2014, I find it hard to get excited by candidates who don’t even think that law-abiding citizens who undergo regular background checks still can’t be trusted with firearms. If you live in any of these districts, it might be good to let them know that you noticed they wanted your vote in 2012, but that they won’t even get on board with national reciprocity.

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