NRA’s backing of pro-gun Democrats ruffles feathers among Republicans
November 1, 2010
by Joseph P. Tartaro
Over the past two Hindsight columns, I have been talking about left-wing, liberal, Democrat pro-gun organizations. I would have continued, but this issue goes to press 15 days before the Nov. 2 elections, and the question of pro-gun Democrat Members of the House who have proved themselves by their actions has become an important subject of controversy.
The question has sort of become: is a pro-gun Democrat incumbent in the House worth more than an unproven Republican? Part of the confusion on this question arises from the fact that when forced by circumstance, Republicans have tended to adopt more pro-gun positions, and some of the great pro-gun leaders in both houses of Congress have been Republicansbut not to the exclusion of pro-gun Democrats. Take the example the past pro-gun leadership of former Sen. James McClure (R-ID) and former Rep. Harold Volkmer (D-MO).
If your firearms civil rights are your most important single issue, then you have to vote your gun rights regardless of party. If electing Republicans means sending people like Delaware’s Michael Castle to Congress, then our civil rights are in serious jeopardy.
But this year especially, with very anti-gun Democrats in control of the White House and Congress, some gunowners have seen simple salvation in the election of Republicans. They forget that pro-gun Democrats in the House and Senate have thwarted the Obama Administration’s anti-gun initiatives, and even passed pro-gun legislation which he signed, or which failed simply because it was pro-gun, like the DC voting rights bill.
All of this became a focus on both left and right, in and out of the media as Nov. 2 approached.
“Not a lot of things have gone the Democrats’ way this year, but dozens of their House candidates are getting a late boost from an unusual source: the National Rifle Association (NRA), wrote Washington Post Staff Writer Ben Pershing on Oct. 7.
He went on to note that “so far this year, the NRA has endorsed 58 incumbent House Democrats, including more than a dozen in seats that both parties view as critical to winning a majority.”
The Post article was quick to note that “the endorsements aren’t the result of a sudden love for a party with which the NRA is often at odds. Rather, the powerful group adheres to what it calls ‘an incumbent-friendly’ policy, which holds that if two candidates are equally supportive of gun rights, the incumbent gets the nod.
“The policy has been in place for some time, and the NRA has always backed a number of Democrats, but the group’s choices have become especially contentious this year because control of Congress is at stake and because so many gun-supporting Democrats were elected over the past four years.
“The policy is frustrating Republicans who think the group is hurting its own cause and the party’s chances next month,” The Post noted.
Republicans are livid, especially those who claim that if those Democrats win they would “still support House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA), ‘one of the most anti-gun speakers Congress has ever had.’ ”
On Oct. 5, Red State Eagle Publishing went further, claiming “the NRA is helping to preserve the anti-gun Democrat majority.”
Red State Eagle sneered “Believe it or not, the only ones who might help Nancy Pelosi save her House majority are those who run legislative affairs at the NRA. So called Blue Dog Democrats across the nation are campaigning as red meat conservatives in their home districts, while running deceptive ads about their Republican opponents. They campaign as if they have nothing to do with the Democrat Party that they propelled to power and which passed all of the nefarious legislation that they purport to oppose. The sick irony is that the more successful these liars are in distancing themselves from Pelosi, the more likely it will be that Pelosi will remain Speaker.”
On the other hand, as The Post noted, while the NRA is usually closely linked to the Republican Party, some GOP candidates with impeccable records on gun rights are left to explain why they didn’t get the group’s backing.
NRA spokesman Andrew Arulanandam told The Post that “as a nonpartisan organization, his group does not take party affiliation into account. In most cases, he noted, the seat will be held by a gun-rights supporter regardless of whether the Democrat or Republican wins. We are, frankly, in a very good and enviable position,” Arulanandam said.
The Post reported that “Among the most vulnerable Democrats who have won NRA backing are Reps. Betsy Markey (CO), Harry Teague (NM), Chet Edwards (TX), Allen Boyd (FL), Earl Pomeroy (ND), Debbie Halvorson (IL), Paul E. Kanjorski (PA) and John Boccieri (OH).
The Red State Eagle listed even more of the Democrats who the NRA is endorsing saying “it could cost the Republicans the majority.” For “majority” substitute the word “power,” because while the Democrat and Republican Parties vie for power, gunowners are vying for the survival of their rights.
If you live in one of the House districts in which the NRA has made an endorsement of a Republican or a Democrat, you probably already know about that endorsement. If not, check with the NRA online, or with the NRA election coordinator in your area, and check other pro-gun organizations’ endorsements.
On the Senate side, also look for pro-gun ratings or endorsements, and don’t forget to check on the gun positions of candidates for your local and state races. Pro-gun Democrat senators are scarce on this year’s ballots.
Meanwhile, here’s the list of NRA endorsed Democrats provided by the Red State Eagle:
AL-2: Bobby Bright; AR-4: Mike Ross; CA-18: Dennis Cardoza; CO-3: John Salazar; CO-4: Betsy Markey; FL-2: Allen Boyd;
GA-2: Sanford Bishop; GA-8: Jim Marshall; GA-12: John Barrow; IA-3: Leonard Boswell; IL-11: Debbie Halvorson; IL-12: Jerry Costello; IN-Senate-Brad Ellsworth; IN-2: Joe Donnely; IN-8: Trent Van Haaften; IN-9: Baron Hill; KY-6: Ben Chandler;
MD-1: Frank Kratovil; MI-1: Gary McDowell; MN-1: Tim Walz; MS-1: Travis Childers; MS-4: Gene Taylor; MO-4: Ike Skelton; NC-7: Mike McIntyre; NC-8: Larry Kissell; NC-11: Heath Shuler; ND-At Large: Earl Pomeroy; NM-1: Martin Heinrich; NM-2: Harry Teague; NM-3: Ben Lujan;
NY-20: Scott Murphy; NY-23: Bill Owens; NY-24: Mike Acruri; OH-Gov. Ted Strickland; OH-6: Charlie Wilson; OH-16: John Boccieri; OH-18: Zack Space; OK-2: Dan Boren; OR-5: Kurt Schrader;
PA-4: Jason Altmire; PA-10: Chris Carney; PA-11: Paul Kanjorski; PA-12: Mark Critz; PA-17: Tim Holden; SD-At Large: Stephanie Sandlin; TN-4: Lincoln Davis; TN-8: Roy Herron;
TX-17: Chet Edwards; UT-2: Jim Matheson; VA-2: Glenn Nye; VA-5: Tom Perriello; VA-9: Rick Boucher; WI-3: Ron Kind; WI-8: Steve Kagen; WV-Senate: Joe Manchin, and WV-3: Nick Rahall.
The Red State Eagle claimed that there are 53 Democrats in competitive/semi-competitive districts that the NRA has endorsed and claimed that there is simply no way to win a majority without winning those seats.”
The choice is yours as a voter. Regardless of how you decide, please be sure to vote on Nov. 2.
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