December 2014

Big Changes In Washington

Todd Woodard

I stayed up late on November 4 to watch the election returns come in. In particular, I was watching the Senate races because if the Republicans took control of both houses of Congress, then the chances of national gun-control legislation passing would drop to nil for the next couple of years. Things went very well.

As a result of the NRA’s efforts in the 2014 elections, candidates endorsed by the NRA Political Victory Fund won hard-fought victories in Arkansas, Colorado, Georgia, Kansas, Kentucky, Iowa, Montana, Nebraska, North Carolina, South Dakota and West Virginia. The NRA was likewise pivotal in re-electing pro-gun governors in Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Kansas, Texas and Wisconsin, and in ousting a Bloomberg-backed anti-gun governor in Maryland. In addition, the NRA had great success in races for the U.S. House.

The NRA scored impressive wins in hotly contested races and played a pivotal role in increasing pro-gun majorities in both chambers of Congress.

“America’s gun owners sent a strong message to Washington, D.C. that their constitutional freedoms must be respected,” said Chris W. Cox, chairman of the NRA-PVF. “Michael Bloomberg and national anti-gun groups were dealt a significant blow by Second Amendment supporters across the country. A clear takeaway from these elections is that candidates who support gun control do so at their political peril.”

The GOP won in Montana, South Dakota, Arkansas, West Virginia and North Carolina — all seats that had been in Democratic hands — to surpass their magic number of six net gains. The GOP currently has 52 members in the Senate, with seats still to be decided in Virginia, Alaska, and Louisiana.

Some victories were particularly sweet. In Colorado, Senator Mark Udall was defeated by Cory Gardner, who was endorsed by the NRA. NRA-endorsed Thom Tillis beat Senator Kay Hagan in North Carolina. In West Virginia, NRA-endorsed Shelley Moore Capito won. NRA-endorsed Senatorial candidate Joni Ernst won in Iowa. Arkansas Sen. Mark Pryor lost to Tom Cotton, who, like Iowa’s Ernst, is an Iraq war veteran.

Amazingly, some of the bluest states changed from anti-gun to potentially pro-gun governors. Maryland elected Republican Larry Hogan as governor. Illinois ousted Democrat governor Pat Quinn in favor of Bruce Rauner. In Massachusetts, Charlie Baker defeated Martha Coakley.
On the negative side: In Washington state, voters approved Initiative 594 to expand background checks on nearly all gun sales. And anti-gun governors Dannel P. Malloy in Connecticut and John Hickenlooper in Colorado survived strong challenges. All in, though, I’ll take it.