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Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Bloomberg Claims Victory in Election

Last week I posted that the Coalition to Stop Gun Violence (CSGV) claimed that Keith Fimian's support for gun rights was his undoing in the race against 11th District extremely anti-rights Congressman Gerry Connolly.  The Hill reported that Connolly has been declared the winner and that Fimian is expected to concede today.

Today CSGV is claiming victory for gun control because of the results in the 11th District, following Bloomberg's lead from a story in the Huffington Post yesterday.  The HuffPo story claims that Bloomberg took on the NRA and Bloomberg won.  A little reality check is in order.

In the closing weeks of the campaign, Bloomberg funded a gun control front group called "Americans United for Safe Streets" (AUSS) with ads about the so-called "gun show loophole."  In addition to Fimian, AUSS targeted Ohio Attorney General Richard Cordray (D), Michigan congressional candidate Rocky Raczkowski (R) and Ohio congressional candidate Tom Ganley (R), all of whom lost. Pennsylvania Republican congressional candidate Pat Meehan won over AUSS supported Democrat Bryan Lentz.  So AUSS is claiming it defeated the NRA based on winning four out of five carefully chosen races in which it got involved.  When you look a little deeper, you see a different picture than what is being spun by CSGV and Bloomberg. 

The election was brutal to Democrats in Ohio so Cordray's loss is more attributable to the fact that he was running against a wave than the fact he supported the rights of law abiding gun owners.  In the Michigan race, you only have to look at this from Roll Call's Race Rating to see why Bloomberg chose Michigan's 9th District as one of his races:

This fall he (Peter's) is favored over former state Rep. Andrew “Rocky” Raczkowski, who is hardly the strongest challenger Republicans could have found.
While many believe that Fimian was surging at the end of the campaign, the fact is Virginia's 11th District has trended Blue over the years and the only reason it stayed in the GOP for as long as it did was due to the fact that former Representative Tom Davis was further to the left than the GOP Congressional Leadership.  Roll Call had this to say about the 11th in it's rating's race:

Connolly was presumed to be relatively safe after winning this Democratic-trending suburban Northern Virginia district in 2008.  He faces a rematch from last cycle with businessman Keith Fimian, who lost by 12 points that year.  Taxes and spending are big issues in this fiscally conservative district that is one of the nation’s wealthiest. That’s why Connolly has spoken against the president’s proposal to let Bush-era tax cuts expire for those in the highest income brackets. It’s hard for Fimian to run on the same anti-Washington message many Republicans are championing, seeing as a quarter of 11th district voters work for the federal government.
The Brady Campaign's Paul Helmke uses Bloomberg's bluster to spin the same tired tripe that has failed to gain traction to date: that gun control can be a winner for Democrats if they would only run on the issue.

"On the gun violence issue, the Democratic leadership has too often been paralyzed by the perceived need to protect the NRA stalwarts in their caucus," he said. "Now we see that appeasing the gun lobby did Congressional Democrats little good, while Democratic candidates supporting common-sense gun restrictions won overwhelmingly. This attempt to placate the NRA meant that we just lost another two years in dealing with the plague of gun violence that takes too many innocent lives."
Helmke uses a line from an October Roanoke College Poll to support his assertion that the NRA is not as powerful as congress thinks.  That poll of the 5th Congressional District race between Democrat incumbent Tom Perriello and State Senator Robert Hurt found that 80% of respondents said it made no difference to them that the NRA had endorsed Perriello when deciding for whom to vote.  What Helmke did not say was a)Perriello's opponent was also an "A" rated candidate with a great 2nd Amendment voting record in the General Assembly and b) the 5th District is a conservative rural district that was very unhappy that Perriello voted for Obamacare.  The fact that 80% of respondents to the poll said they did not care that the NRA did not endorse Perriello was likely due to the fact the gun issue was a wash between the candidates so voters could focus on the economy and other issues.

With this little reality check in mind, it seems quite a stretch for Helmke to claim that because four candidates won that were chosen by Bloomberg to make gun control an issue is proof that gun control candidates won overwhelmingly.  But, facts have never mattered to the gun ban crowd.  With them, spin is what wins the day.

Hat tip to Cam Edwards and The NRA News Daily.

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