Boosting Pro-2A Candidates without Mentioning Guns


This weekend, I was tied up helping out a solidly pro-gun candidate here in Pennsylvania. He happens to be an area state representative, and he knows both Sebastian and I are vocal advocates of the Second Amendment. As a Republican with a female challenger and the whole “War on Women” theme that’s used against all GOPers nationally, I lined him up as a speaker at my local women’s group meeting.

He earned several votes there according to what women told me later. He also connected with several women who are active in other groups and want to talk more about the topics he handles. He inspired women who don’t live in his district to want to help him out so he stays in office. He left a mark with a large group of women who vote, who participate in civic life in many areas of the community, and who will help spread the word to other voters about what a great guy he is to have in the office.

Yet, not once did he utter anything about his campaign. Not once did he say anything about guns. Not once did he even get into any form of politics. He earned those votes and positive associations just because he has other areas of expertise in his work with the community that were the highlights of his talk.

So, this is just a handy reminder that sometimes a candidate doesn’t have to walk around screaming “shall not be infringed” at every event. The lawmaker knows who lined up the invitation for him, and he knows the issues I care about that make me want to get his name out there in front of voters. If he had mentioned guns, I would have been mortified because it would have been so out of place in the context and wouldn’t have been the best way for him to take advantage of the type of audience he had in front of him. Not every voter needs to hear the same message that you do, and this was a great chance for me to offer up a resource for a different kind of message to different types of voters.

It’s also a reminder that even if you’re not the kind to go knock on doors and make phone calls, there are other ways you can boost a candidate’s name recognition. Are you a member of any kind of community group that has a need for speakers? Do you go to church and have groups there that do any kind of community service that could use a boost?

Look up the kinds of committees your lawmakers serve on or get a list of the types of community groups a candidate has served with to get an idea of their “expertise” topics that aren’t just guns. If you can’t find a common thread, then think any group you’re part of that might warrant some kind of proclamation that the lawmaker can secure and read/publicize that announcement. See how you can help them out in these more creative ways.

6 thoughts on “Boosting Pro-2A Candidates without Mentioning Guns”

  1. a candidate doesn’t have to walk around screaming “shall not be infringed” at every event

    If they’re naked except for the flag draped around them, then yes, yes they do have to scream it.

  2. “The lawmaker knows who lined up the invitation for him, and he knows the issues I care about…”

    Yup. They sure do know the issues we care about.

    Did anyone ever tell you the story about the “very pro-gun candidate” one of our officers brought to our gun club, to get us behind him? Our county “sportsmens coalition” gave him one of our gun rights questionnaires, and it came back answered perfectly.

    I was telling a friend who is an attorney about this marvelous pro-gun candidate, and he laughed out loud, referring me to the county League of Women Voters candidate questionnaire results, that had just been placed in the public libraries. Our marvelous pro-gun candidate had answered their questionnaire, just as anti-gun, as he had answered our questionnaire pro-gun.

    I called this to the attention of the local press, which had a field day with it. Our wonderful candidate called me up and explained that he had answered the LWV questionnaire before we had “educated him.” Now he really, really was on our side. I told him I was very pleased to hear that, and if he would send me a signed press release saying that, I would cosign it and submit it to all the media I had contacted. He declined.

    He lost the election badly, and I have always liked to think I contributed to that.

    The point of the story being, if a candidate is willing to recruit you to engage in a conspiracy of silence on where he really stands on your issue, how do you know he hasn’t recruited someone else to be silent about where he really stands on your issue? How do you know which side is being played?

    A candidate who will not commit to in public to our position is not to be trusted. Period. And we are part of the problem if we join him or her in that concealment.

    1. This candidate has defended gun rights in public and doesn’t shy away from his voting record which has always been with us. There’s nothing in the telling of what I did for him that gives any indication he’s afraid to stand by a pro-gun record publicly.

      What I said is that neither one of us brought it up because a) it wasn’t at all relevant to the group and b) it wasn’t an appropriate forum, nor would the audience have been receptive to such a message in that context. For the same reason I am happy to skip most of the political speeches at the NRA convention because the topics often have nothing to do with the Second Amendment, I would have been pissed at him if he came in talking about guns when he was specifically invited to speak on other issues.

      Contrary to what some folks in this issue think, it’s perfectly fine to have interests outside of guns. I’m happy to help pro-gun candidates reach out to those people because, in the end, the Second Amendment still wins.

      1. I know what you mean, and I trust your judgment. But, there can be a fine line between, not wearing an issue on your sleeve or as a chip on your shoulder, and preferring to obfuscate that position in public.

    2. A longer-winded version of the above story. Dated, but also timeless.

      “Educating the Enemy” — “If one not-too-bright politico had pegged gun rights activists as suckers who could be flattered and taken in by a claim that they had educated him, how many others had already embraced that tactic?”

  3. I think in PA we run the risk of having two types of candidates who are not helpful in sustaining a lasting legislative gun culture.

    Of course we have the “true believer” antis like Daylin Leach who will not budge at all, will play dirty and undermine the process as long as the ends justify the means, and anything that erodes what gun rights we already have is merely a “step in the right direction” to them. They will appear publicly to assault us however/whenever possible. We have to take the gloves off for those folks when it comes to making sure they have credible opposition on election day.

    Then we have the freshmen reps who WILL NOT stick their necks for fear of offending the entrenched leadership. I know first hand that GOP leadership tells freshmen representatives NOT to sponsor/co-sponsor anything in their first term. Being a first year state rep and expecting to stay elected will make you especially interested in what leadership tells you. It takes someone a bit stronger to step up to the plate, and really what it comes down to is we have many more cowards in both parties these days who bow to leadership. The ones who don’t are either in a rural region or have no credible threat during election time.

    The more we can do to bring our reps who focus on our issues to the forefront without necessarily discussing everything they can do for us, the better, imo. Of course they need to focus on non-gun issues to even be considered credible.

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