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Gun Rights in PA’s 8th District

Overall, NRA-endorsed candidates won more than they lost, and we seemingly may have picked up a couple of potentially positive seats.

First, of our endorsed incumbents, gun owners should congratulate State Reps. Paul Clymer and Gene DiGirolamo and Attorney General Tom Corbett. Tom Corbett’s re-election is particularly noteworthy to concealed carry license holders in the our district given the control over license reciprocity for the state’s gun owners. His opponent was F-rated and could have done significant damage to our progress on the issue. (Both opponents of the endorsed state representatives refused to return questionnaires.)

However, our non-incumbent endorsed candidates did not fare as well. Both happened to be Republican, and it was not a year where the stars were lined up for Republicans at the federal level. Tom Manion was defeated by anti-gun Patrick Murphy and John McCain was defeated by the most anti-gun presidential candidate in our history. We will spend the next two years informing gun owners of Patrick Murphy’s terrible record on our issue.

In at least one race with no endorsement, we seem to have improved our representation in Harrisburg for the residents of 142. Frank Farry, who forgot to return the questionnaire to NRA but sent a personal statement to NRA members that included a pledge to create a sportsmen’s council to advise him on our issues, defeated incumbent Chris King. King’s grade had dropped from an A- to a C- during his term. (Gun owners who may have contacted King over his short term in the PA House may recognize his treatment of constituents on display last night – he refused to attend his own watch party and thank his supporters or congratulate Frank Farry.)

The only other district to change hands was 31, and that was due to the retirement of an endorsed candidate. Unfortunately, for those residents, neither Pete Stainthorpe nor Steve Santarsiero returned questionnaires earning an endorsement. In fact, Stainthorpe did not return it at all. The eventual winner, Santarsiero, was given a B rating. Now it’s up to gun owners to let him know that they would like to see that grade go higher through his votes.

Our next election in 2010 will not only give us another opportunity to return the 8th District back into a pro-gun Congressional seat, but we will also be looking at a race for the Governor’s Mansion, as well as state Senate seats in the area, and all of the state House seats again. For the next two years, my focus will be on outreach and education. In speaking with many gun owners from Quakertown to Philadelphia, I found that many simply did not realize how lower ticket candidates had voted on their rights. Next time, we will educate even more gun owners for even higher turnout.

In the meantime, check back here for reports on how our local representatives are involved in all of the big gun news from the DC Beltway back to Harrisburg.

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