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Monday, September 27, 2010

NRA Endorsements in Virginia

Besides being the VSSA Legislative Chairman, I am also an NRA-ILA Election Volunteer Coordinator (NRA-ILA-EVC).  This means my name ends up on the cover of NRA magazines this time of year, encouraging gun owners to contact me to get involved in the campaigns of endorsed candidates.  Apparently, the lastest issue of the magazines have ended up in the mailboxes around Virginia (I subscribe to the digital versions) because I began getting phone calls about NRA-PVF endorsing Tom Perriello in the 5th Congressional District.  It should be noted that I am not the EVC for the 5th District.  No, the folks that called me did not live in the 5th either but they wanted to express their disgust with the endorsement and EVC's are the only point of contact with a real person for the average NRA members because EVC's are volunteers and do not work for NRA.

After exchanging some pleasantries, I shared with the folks pretty much the same message that Chris Cox did with National Review's Jim Geraghty in today's online article:

We are a non-partisan organization, and we don’t base any grade or any endorsement on a party affiliation. That’s how we have continued to succeed, by solely considering how a candidate stands on the Second Amendment and the right to keep and bear arms. We send out candidate questionnaires to every candidate, and we look at public statements and the things they say in debates. We focus solely on the right to keep and bear arms, because that’s our issue. Now, there are a lot of other issues that voters have to address, particularly in a year like this; they’re looking at fiscal issues, they’re looking at the health-care issue. 
Most voters aren't single issue voters and when they see a guy like Tom Perriello get the endorsement, a guy who has supported the agenda of President Obama 99% of the time, an agenda that is not very popular in the 5th District (nor outside the 5th other than in Northern Virginia), these folks tend to forget that NRA is a single issue organization.  While Perriello may have thumbed his nose at his constituents when it comes to health care, the misnamed "Stimulus" bill, and others, he has voted the right way the few times the issue of firearms and the Second Amendment has come before him.  It is up to the voters of the 5th District to decide if that is enough to re-elect him.  Given Perriello's opponent is a Virginia State Senator with an equally (most would say more) impressive record on the right to keep and bear arms, it is likely voters in the 5th District will feel they don't have to worry about their Second Amendment rights and will base their decision on other issues.

Update: See more on NRA's Virginia Endorsement's here.  Hat-tip to Norman Leahy.


Mike Wilburt said...

I am a "re-newed" member of VSSA. I was a member some years ago when we lived in Richmond. After I retired we moved to North Carolina.

While in NC, I became heavily involved in NC politics. I was elected chairman of our county GOP and vice-chairman of the congressional district GOP (23 counties). I also managed campaigns for candidates running for the NC state senate. We moved back to Richmond last year and I have re-joined VSSA.

In rural NC it is not unusual to find Democrat incumbents and candidates who are VERY liberal on fiscal and most social issues, but are sincerely pro-2nd Amendment. If they are incumbents and have voted for pro-gun-rights during their term, they may get the NRA endorsement. According to the NRA they have "earned" the endorsement.

The frustration comes when these pro-gun liberal incumbents use the strength of their name and office to campaign for other liberal candidates for federal or state offices who are anti-gun.

On two occasions in NC I appealed to the NRA to NOT endorse these liberal incumbent candidates, but to just give them an appropriate grade along with grading their opponent. They repeated to me the same "single-issue-advocacy" reasoning that we just read about Perriello.

What good does it do in support of our 2nd Amendment rights when we see NRA endorsements going to candidates who, themselves, may support gun rights, but promote and support the candidacies of those who will vote against our rights?

This NRA policy of backing pro-gun incumbents must be reconsidered if the candidate promotes or supports anti-gun candidates simply for the sake of supporting candidates of the same party.

Mike Wilburt

VSSA Legislative Chairman said...


Thanks for your support of VSSA. You make some good points. Believe me when I say I am getting emails with many of the same sentiments you shared.