If you think the contentious battle over gun policy in the Colorado state legislature last year is going to doom a political party's chances at the polls this November, you very well could be right. If you think the party that will suffer at the polls would be the Democrats, you very well could be wrong.
The party that is suffering right now due to the issue of guns is not the Dems - they were united last month against GOP efforts to roll back the gun reform passed last year.
Within the GOP, however, signs of what may be a growing wedge between the party's more moderate members and its far right wing are popping up.
Over at the Facebook page of the state gun lobby (Rocky Mountain Gun Owners), there have been two posts in the past 24 hours that should raise some eyebrows:
According to the RMGO post, they are hearing from members that the Jefferson County Republican Party (where a Dem was forced to resign and appoint a replacement due to a gun lobby fueled recall threat last year) is telling volunteers who support RMGO-endorsed candidates, "Thanks, but no thanks" and is barring them from GOP offices.
This is, of course, also a convenient reason to send out a message to supporters to donate and volunteer to those campaigns as well as RMGO.
None-the-less, this is what is being posted. And, this report jibes with some other news from this week that shows pro-gun candidates in state GOP straw polls have performed quite poorly. More background on that, here:
And in another example of strife within the GOP over the gun issue, there is the city of Castle Rock, Colorado (which went for Romney by 60%) where a citizens group has launched a referendum to halt the repeal of an open carry ban that was rammed through the city council thanks to the support of RMGO. More on that here: http://www.dailykos.com/...
But back to the issue at hand — according to the RMGO Facebook page, at the door of GOP party offices, volunteers are said to have been asked who they are supporting in State Senate primaries, and if they support any of the RMGO-endorsed candidates, the volunteers are asked to leave.
At the same time, the state GOP is inviting in campaign supporters for other State Senate candidates who are not pro-gun, at least to RMGO's standards (which bills itself as tougher than the NRA).
According to the RMGO post, the supporters of the more moderate GOPers are not only invited to work in the party office, but they have:
exclusive access to key data that could help give them an unfair advantage in the upcoming primary election.More below
It’s obvious that the party is turning its back on pro-gun candidates, and that’s why it’s vital that you do everything you can to support RMGO-PAC endorsed candidates.
So here's an anecdote (that's similar to two other examples) that shows the pulse of the Colorado state GOP from the ground in the Colorado state Senate races, including the district where Democratic Senator Evie Hudak resigned in order to avoid a recall campaign due to her support of gun reform - a district the state the GOP does not seem to want to lose again because of trigger happy pro gun supporters shooting their mouths off.
This particular seat, in fact, has a history of just that happening — Hudak originally won her seat thanks to a three way race with two GOPers, a moderate and a pro-gun zealot that peeled away enough support to help Hudak win.
Meanwhile, in the campaign for governor, it is a similar story - candidates with mushy gun records are in pole position.
A letter from the head of RMGO posted at their Facebook site, points out that former GOP congressmen Tom Tancredo and Bob Beauprez are both the most visible and widely known of the GOP field, but they also are squishes on guns — Tancredo having voted for gun reform after the Columbine tragedy, and Beauprez publicly supporting an amendment that curtailed gun rights:
Ritter and Beauprez had both endorsed Amendment 22, which requires an instant check for certain sales that take place at a gun show, even if there would be no check required for the same sale between the same buyer and seller if the sale took place at any other location.These are only anecdotes, but they sure seem to be piling up in a hill evidence that shows the gun issue in Colorado is no longer the slam dunk it once was for GOP candidates - the electorate has been trending more liberal over the past 10 years or so, and with it, more moderate GOPers have taken a position not unlike that of a deer stuck in the headlights of an oncoming car - a car driven by the far right wing of the party.
Thus, while Beauprez and Ritter differ on many gun issues, they both supported the referendum, which passed with 70 percent of the vote. http://www.davekopel.org/...
Sun Mar 09, 2014 at 9:02 AM PT: From the comments:
"The off year remains the biggest challenge. How (2+ / 0-)
guns play into this is tricky, because guns would seem to amplify the predicted GOP turnout advantage in the off year. Effective GOTV is still most important, & I'm not convinced that Dems will turn out to say no to pro-gun candidates.
But this is still welcome news, especially for the race that's my top priority: Senate District 19, where the gun lobby had pursued a recall against Evie Hudak, who resigned to allow Jefferson County Dems to name a replacement. They named a great person: my friend Rachel Zenzinger, & she will need our help to hold this very purple seat. Please give what you can: https://secure.actblue.com/...