If you guessed it was the Brady Campaign turning into a campaign operation, give yourself a pat on the back and maybe a Snickers bar for good measure.
On the senators who voted against the bill, Brady Campaign President Dan Gross told PI: “We’re watching them and we’re holding them accountable.” He added, “We’re flooding calls from the American public into their offices.” Brady said the group would look at using its PAC against members of Congress who voted against yesterday’s pro-gun-control amendment. “We are definitely going to be looking at what we can do on an electoral level,” Gross said.
Well, Dan, let’s help you look at what you can do on an electoral level based on the most recent data you filed with the .gov.
Even after Newtown and knowing they would likely need to launch an electoral fight, the Brady Campaign raised a big fat nothing for their PAC in all of 2012. Either Dan Gross is lying to the media about his intentions or he’s grossly incompetent in understanding that their current cash on hand in the PAC isn’t even enough to make one maxed out donation and pay all of the fees they appear to have in maintaining the account annually.
Now, I realize that they may be able to raise money for the PAC this year, so we’ll keep an eye on it. Regardless, I feel like Politico left out key context to the story of their potential involvement by deliberately ignoring the fact that they have raised less than $37k since 2006 (when Paul Helmke took over) and raised absolutely no PAC dollars under the current leadership.
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.
The power of gun owners comes in our willingness to put boots on the ground. 2014 is not the year to sit out of the game. The politicians who have voted for this mess or promoted it must be ousted from office. If we can’t beat Mike Bloomberg’s wealth, then we need to beat him where it counts in turning out votes.
NSSF released three commercials they produced with Colt, Stag Arms, & Mossberg that focus on the jobs angle of the gun debate. They are nearly identical, but here’s the Colt version which I liked best for the blue dome visual:
I’m almost ashamed to admit that as often as I drove by that blue dome when I was just getting involved with Second Amendment activism, I had no idea it was associated with Colt.
While gun control group leaders who react very emotionally to the debate may find this angle absurd, it’s really not. When MAIG polled Pennsylvania districts with Republicans they plan to attack (Reps. Fitzpatrick, Meehan, and Gerlach), they didn’t jump right into the gun issue. Instead, they asked “Which of the following issues will be most important to your vote for Congress inthe next election [first and second choice selected]?” Given the option to list two answers, not just one, the top issue was by far the economy. Nearly 70% of respondents (69% to be precise) said it was the big issue heading into 2014′s races. Where did gun control fall? It depends. When they worded it as “fixing gun laws,” it was at the very bottom with 3% – a particularly notable number since that’s a solid 2 percentage points below the poll’s margin of error. When they worded gun control as “gun violence prevention,” the number of people who say they’ll consider it in 2014 skyrocket to a whooping 8%, just two spots higher than “not sure” of any issue they’ll care about in the election. In other words, people care about jobs, they don’t care about gun control.
They are encouraging people to call Congress, so feel free to call…
Bloomberg is going to spend far more money than the gun industry and the pro-Second Amendment grassroots could ever spend, so it’s important we out-organize them. But still, it’s nice to see attempts to get more ads out there on our side that address serious issues voters care about.
I never would have figured Colorado, of all places. I would have thought Pennsylvania before Colorado, to be honest. I’ve always thought we’re a more solidly blue state. But one reason we’re not in trouble yet, and I stress yet (don’t count on Republicans, be heard from) is because our House, Senate and Governorship are controlled by the GOP. It might actually be the case that Pennsylvania is more purple than Colorado.
I think it’s incumbent among gun owners everywhere to remember a simple saying, “Don’t get mad, get even.” The 2014 elections will be coming up, and no matter what our legislators do to us, let’s agree to get even.
The question is what message about guns Democrats – and Republicans, for that matter – decide to take out of next year’s midterms. If action is taken this year and a bunch of incumbent Democratic senators from pro-gun states lose their seats next year, the party will likely conclude that the renewed gun control push was the reason; a new round of post-’14 reforms would be unlikely. But what if new laws are passed this year and most or all of those Democratic incumbents survive? And if the same thing happens at the House level? Or if some anti-gun control Republicans from swing districts are voted out? Under that scenario, Democrats might emerge from the ’14 midterms emboldened to press for more new laws, and Republicans from competitive districts might believe there’s no choice but to go along.
There’s a lot of bluffing that goes on in politics. What Biden, Obama and the far-left that now controls the Democratic Party is counting on is that NRA has been bluffing for years, and doesn’t really hold any cards. They are calling what they think is a bluff. It is way too early at this point to know what the 2014 election is going to look like for us, but if two years from now, friendly lawmakers have held the line, we need to work like hell, to do some positive reinforcement, for a change, to keep those lawmakers in office who helped hold that line, and be seen as a vital constituency in their coalition.
The Democrats have a lot more uncertain seats to defend than the GOP. I see a potential Dem pickup in Maine, but there are a lot of Southern Dems who will be up in 2014, in states that will likely, by then, by in no mood to be kind to the Democratic Party. We also know the Obama turnout machine doesn’t work for midterms. I get to take 2014 off from Senate races here in Pennsylvania, but there’s plenty of work to do out there. In honor of the perpetual campaign, I guess it’s time to create a 2014 Election category, but hopefully we won’t be using it much until it comes time.
Speaking of election work, I was a bit of a deadbeat this election. A combination of relatively safe local races, just not having the time I did in previous elections, and the feeling of working harder for less money just didn’t put me in the silly season spirit. I also kind of felt like Roger Simon of PJ Media, who notes: “I have to admit something. Unlike most of my PJM colleagues and many in the right punditocracy, deep down I never thought Mitt Romney would win.”
I started looking getting a bit of optimism after Mitt appeared to have momentum, but Sandy dominated the news cycle, which offered a natural advantage to Obama. Chris Christie fawning over the President didn’t help things either. But the fact is that unseating an incumbent president is a herculean task. Only 8 of 44 Presidents have failed to win re-election. While the comparisons of Barack Obama to Jimmy Carter are not without merit, Mitt Romney is not, and was never going to be, another Ronald Reagan.