Political Report: The 2007 Elections
Thursday, December 13, 2007
You can't turn on your TV or pick up a newspaper without
seeing coverage of the presidential race. Every day, it's nonstop
coverage of who went where, who said what, and the media spin on
what it all means.
In truth, none of it means anything real--until the votes
are cast. We'll see some of those votes cast in primaries and
caucuses in the early states this month, and we'll see a lot more
votes cast on Feb. 5, when 21 more states will hold their
primaries. On Feb. 6, we could have a pretty good idea of who the
party nominees will be. But we can't stop the media from obsessing
over the horse race, in daily and excruciating detail.
so obsessed with the presidential race that
few media outlets paid any attention to the 2007 elections.
But here at NRA Headquarters, we sure
They're so obsessed with the presidential race that few
media outlets paid any attention to the 2007 elections. But here at
NRA Headquarters, we sure did. In the five states that held major
"off-year elections," we made hundreds of key endorsements, and
mailed thousands of postcards from the NRA Political Victory Fund
(NRA-PVF). We sent thousands of e-mails to NRA members, and
published our endorsements on the NRA-PVF website at www.nraPVF.org
for a members-only preview. Then we did everything else we could
think of to make sure NRA members and gun owners had all the facts
on the candidates running in their local districts.
We had excellent results overall. Voters in Mississippi
and Louisiana, with haunting memories of gun confiscation after
Hurricane Katrina fresh in their minds, re-elected Haley Barbour as
governor of Mississippi and elected Bobby Jindal as governor of
Louisiana--both champions of our ongoing campaign to ensure that
gun seizures can never happen again, anywhere in America, in times
of emergency or natural disaster.
State legislative results were more of a mixed bag. Voters
are clearly restless, and they voted for change in 2007 much as
they did in 2006. Issues like the economy, illegal immigration and
more varied local issues carried the day. One trend that carried
forward from 2006 was the sheer number of elections that were
extremely close, decided by margins of just a few hundred votes.
One key Virginia state Senate race is awaiting a possible recount
decision--decided, at press time, by just 92 votes. We must spread
the word as the 2008 elections approach--in a nation that is so
evenly divided, every vote counts that much more.
Right here in Fairfax, Va., where your NRA Headquarters is
located, we had a state Senate race with national implications. Our
Second Amendment rights were at the core of the campaign--and the
race even attracted a visit from gun-ban New York City Mayor Mike
Bloomberg came to Fairfax to endorse Jeannemarie Devolites
Davis, a Republican candidate up for re-election to the state
Senate. Davis had an ugly record on Second Amendment issues--for
instance, she sponsored and pushed hard for a bill to restrict gun
shows out of business, solidly earning her "F" rating from NRA-PVF.
And she was proud of her record--so much so, in fact, that she led
with her chin in her first series of tv ads.
Davis' ad was a typical negative attack, and it accused
her Democratic opponent Chap Petersen of being "wrong on guns." It
said he voted to relax restrictions on the holders of
Right-to-Carry permits, specifically whether permit holders could
carry their firearms in county parks and recreation
Davis was counting on a knee-jerk anti-gun reaction from
the voters in this suburban, "moderate" district just outside the
nation's capital. But if the voters were scared of Virginia permit
holders, they didn't show it at the voting booth. And they must not
have shown it in Davis' extensive polling, either.
Davis upped the ante, pouring more money into spreading
her message of fear in the expensive D.C. market. She even tapped
the campaign account of her husband, u.s. Representative Tom Davis,
R-Va., to the tune of over $400,000. And she must have called
around to the gun-ban lobbyists who had endorsed her for help.
Apparently, somebody had the bright idea to invite New York City
Mayor Michael Bloomberg to Virginia.
Bloomberg touched down in his private jet, and he proudly
appeared to endorse Davis for supporting "tougher gun laws."
According to The Washington Post, "Bloomberg acknowledged that
endorsing a legislative candidate in another state was unusual, but
he said the gun issue is of such importance to him that the trip
Even the reporters seemed to doubt the mayor's sanity. A
cnn correspondent noted, "On the anti-gun issue, Bloomberg is a man
arguably possessed." cnn anchor Wolf Blitzer followed up, telling
Bloomberg "You know a lot of Virginians, they resent the New York
City mayor coming in to Virginia getting involved in what they
consider a state issue, the issue of guns in Virginia."
This time, the media had it right. Bloomberg's endorsement
backfired, and Davis went down to defeat on Election Day by the
large margin of 55-45 percent.
For a race that was very close going into its final days,
Jeannemarie Devolites Davis presented a primer-perfect example of
how to grab defeat from the jaws of victory. She went out of her
way to antagonize gun owners, then brought in a bossy out-of-state
politician--the country's most prominent self-appointed gun control
activist--for comfort and support. You have to wonder what they
But I, for one, am grateful for Bloomberg's intervention.
Since the race took place in the backyard of the nation's capital,
we know that hundreds of lawmakers saw firsthand how disastrous
Bloomberg's embrace turned out to be.
The next time Bloomberg wants to endorse an anti-gun
candidate for state legislature, I only hope we get enough advance
notice to publicize the event ourselves.