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Plan B – The U.S. Senate
by Jim Irvine
All gun owners have a vested interest in helping Mitt Romney defeat Barack Obama this November. We must defeat Obama this fall. But just in case we fail, we must also execute a Plan B.
The largest and longest-term threat to gun ownership is through the continued appointment of judges who will rule from the bench to deny and revoke your rights. President Obama has already appointed two U.S. Supreme Court justices and many other federal judges who are outright hostile toward people who own guns. A second term could see three more appointments, including two of those on the 5-4 majority wins in Heller and McDonald. Those appointments are confirmed by the U.S. Senate. It is imperative for all gun owners that we replace Senators who support and confirm Obama's rabidly anti-gun justices with ones who will insist on justices who support your rights and our Constitution.
Currently, the Democrats hold 51 seats, giving them power in the Senate. Republicans hold 47 seats and 2 are held by "independents" who caucus with the Democrats. All committees are chaired by Democrats, and most key ones are anti-gun. We saw that partisan politics trumps principle when Harry Reid (D-NV) who is pro-gun, helped Obama get his anti-gun justices appointed.
We must change the makeup of the Senate.
Recently, the most anti-gun Republican Senator, Indiana's Richard Lugar, lost his party primary to Richard Mourdock. Lugar is one NRA-ILA "F" rated Senator who will not be returning. Now gun owners need to make sure Richard Mourdock wins in November.
In Nebraska, Deb Fischer upset favored Republicans in the primary this week. She proudly touts her Second Amendment work including co-sponsoring her states concealed carry law and primary sponsor of their apprentice hunting bill. She earned an "A+" rating from the NRA-ILA, and earned the endorsement of another strong pro-Second Amendment advocate, former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin. Fischer will face anti-gun former Senator Bob Kerry (D) for an open Senate seat that is considered a "must win" for the GOP if they are to retake control of the Senate.
In Ohio, Republican Josh Mandel is running to unseat another Obama ally, Sherrod Brown (D). Current polls have Mandel trailing, but the margin has narrowed to one where gun owners can make the difference. Mandel has been endorsed by Buckeye Firearms Association and highlighted as one of the most important votes Ohioans will cast this November. This could be the key race in the country that determines whether Republicans regain the majority, the key to stopping hostile judicial appointments.
New Mexico is currently held by a Democrat, but is an open seat. Republican Heather Wilson trails Martin Heinrich (D), but this is a race Wilson can win if properly supported. Wilson has a pro-gun voting record and was graded "A" by the NRA in her previous election.
In Montana, Republican Denny Rehberg has a slight lead in the polls over incumbent Jon Tester (D).
In Missouri, Republican candidates Todd Akin, Sarah Steelman and John Brunner are vying to take on incumbent Claire McCaskill (D) an NRA-ILA "F" rated candidate.
In North Dakota, Republican Rick Berg leads Heidi Heitkamp (D) for an open seat currently held by a Democrat.
In Virginia, Republican George Allen holds a slight lead over Timothy Kaine in another open seat currently held by a Democrat.
In Wisconsin, strong pro-gun friend Tommy Thompson (R) holds a slight lead over Tammy Baldwin (D), an NRA-ILA "F" rated candidate, in yet another open seat currently held by a Democrat.
The 2010 mid-term elections saw Republicans nationally sweep into power in a major political shift. In the wake of those elections, many entrenched Democrats decided to retire rather than face elections this year. Because incumbents are so hard to defeat, especially in the U.S. Senate where they are elected for 6-year terms, this is an opportunity we may not see again for another generation. Gun owners must outwork our opponents and elect a U.S. Senate that will stand up to anti-gun treaties and appointments aimed at weakening and destroying your rights.
Republicans are also likely to lose, or Democrats gain, seats in Connecticut, Maine and Massachusetts. Arizona and Hawaii will probably be held by the Republicans and Democrats respectively, but both states have open seats that could come into play.
As we saw in Indiana last week, help can (must) cross state lines. You don't have to live in one of these states to donate or get involved in a campaign. Every gun owner, no matter what state they live in, should be supporting a candidate who supports your rights in at least one of these critical states. Those who live in these states must get involved at some level with the campaign.
Several years ago I was talking to a conservative friend who lived in New York. I chided him about something "his Senator Hillary Clinton" did or said. He proudly proclaimed "She's not my Senator. I voted for Rick Lazio." I asked him how much
money he sent Lazio. None. Well what grassroots support did you give Lazio? None. "But I voted for him," he repeated. I replied, "That obviously wasn't enough, was it? She's your Senator, and you deserve her."
Don't be "that guy." Get involved now, and stay involved through Election Day. We need a major house cleaning; gun owners need to finish the job we have started.
Jim Irvine is the Buckeye Firearms Association Chairman.