It was a big night for shooters and sportsmen Nov. 4 as pro-gun Republicans took the majority in the U.S. Senate and several governor’s races showed too-close-to-call ties where gun rights have been a key issue.
National Rifle Association A-rated Sen. Mitch McConnell deflected a strong challenge to his seat, defeating Democratic Kentucky Secretary of State Alison Lundergan-Grimes who famously ran a political ad depicting her as a pro-gun Democrat in a Red state.
Pundits were flummoxed by Republican Senate wins in North Carolina, Iowa and Georgia, where Democratic challengers had their GOP opponents on their heels in the closing days of the campaign. And even with some races still too close to call or headed for a runoff, Republican control of the Senate and House is seen as a dead end for further gun control legislation.
A vote for pro-gun senators would “ensure that the anti-gun agenda can’t pass either chamber of Congress during the final two years of the Obama administration,” says the National Shooting Sports Foundation. “The alternative [was] a very real prospect of anti-gun candidates succeeding in enough close races to provide the handful of votes needed to resurrect and ramrod a sweeping roster of proposed restrictions through the Senate.”
In a stunning win for pro-gun Republicans, Maryland businessman Larry Hogan defeated Democratic Lt. Gov. Anthony Brown to be the state’s next governor. Motivated by anti-gun legislation passed by Democratic Gov. Martin O’Malley after the Sandy Hook killings, gun owning voters mobilized to kick O’Malley’s party out of the governor’s mansion.
“I want to thank all of those people that supported or co-authored the [anti-gun law] in 2013 for motivating the electorate to vote for Hogan,” said one commenter on a popular Maryland shooter’s Internet forum. “I’m not sure how Hogan will be on [Second Amendment] matters, but at least we got ourselves heard.”
As of this writing it is still too close to call in the Colorado governor’s race — another contest pitting a pro-gun Republican against sitting Democratic Gov. John Hickenlooper, who signed into law anti-gun legislation after the Sandy Hook killings. But pro-gun Republican Cory Gardner defeated Democrat Mark Udall for Senate.
Pro-gun and outdoor sporting candidates won in Wisconsin, Massachusetts, Arkansas and Florida, though sitting California Democratic Gov. Jerry Brown won re-election handily, as did Democratic Sen. Jeanne Shaheen in New Hampshire and Gov. Dannel Malloy in Connecticut.
And many see the pro-gun wind coming despite a flood of outside cash to help defeat the Second Amendment vote.
“Second Amendment supporters are rightly famous single-issue voters who are motivated on Election Day if they know their Constitutional rights are at risk,” the NSSF said. “When they see television or radio ads attacking a pro-gun candidate, they become even more motivated to vote in order to protect their rights.”
While pro-gun voters have a lot to celebrate Nov. 5, the one major anti-gun ballot initiative voted on Tuesday passed by an overwhelming majority.
In Washington state, 60 percent of voters approved a measure that would require background checks for most firearms transfers, including private sales and loans. Anti-gun millionaires and tech entrepreneurs poured nearly $6 million into the race to pass Initiative 594, while the NRA and its supporters funneled about $500,000 to battle the anti-gun forces.
“While the NRA may be able to intimidate legislators, it appears that they are unable to intimidate voters,” said anti-gun group Everytown for Gun Safety’s John Feinblatt, according to U.S. News.