2012 Federal Elections Taking Shape

Here we are just a few weeks out from the 2011 elections, but most political news is really about 2012. And who can blame anyone for that? There’s a presidential election, a possible shift in the US Senate, a large number of state offices, and news out of early primary states now indicate that the 2012 primaries may begin in 2011 during the holidays.

While Iowa talks of shifting their January 3 caucuses a month earlier and New Hampshire proposes dates as early as December 6, Pennsylvania may still be [tooltip text=”The exact timing will depend on the number of challenges filed to any plans.”]at least four months away[/tooltip] from even having a redistricting plan to determine our legislative districts!

Here is an overview of what gun owners should know about some of the 2012 races:

Presidential Election
Unless there are radical shake-ups, the Democratic nominee will be incumbent Barack Obama. While we have been somewhat fortunate on his unwillingness to veto key legislation even when there are pro-gun amendments attached to it, his appointments to the Supreme Court reflect his true colors on this issue. The fact remains that the Second Amendment as an individual right still hangs in the balance by only one vote, and any replacement of one of the so-called “Heller Five” by this administration will likely lead to either the original case being overturned or limited so severely that there is no judicial respect for the individual right. Currently, the Republican primary is in full swing and will likely heat up here in Pennsylvania come springtime.

US Senate Race
Speculation has been strong about a Republican opponent to Sen. Bob Casey for several years. While he started out his term fairly low profile and uncontroversial, his support of controversial issues such as Obama’s healthcare plans put him on the radar with many Pennsylvanians. Now, the race is beginning to draw more attention from both sides of the aisle.

On the Democratic side, Casey only has one declared challenger so far. [tooltip text=”Readers are welcome to try and visit his website, kellyforussenate.com. However, when we tried to visit, warnings of serving malware popped up.”]Brian Kelly[/tooltip], who ran against former Rep. Paul Kanjorski in 2010, has announced he will launch a campaign next week.

For Republicans, the race is a little more interesting. There are at least nine candidates so far, and new announcements are not off the table. Two candidates have recent Congressional race experience – one from the Southeast and one from the Southwest. Word of Steven Welch’s campaign broke last month after his 2010 campaign for the Republican nomination the 6th congressional district was cut short when incumbent Rep. Jim Gerlach re-entered the race. A former challenger to the late Rep. John Murtha and Rep. Mark Critz, Tim Burns entered the Senate race this week.

Another former candidate also launched a campaign out of the Philadelphia suburbs – David Christian who ran for Congress in the 1980s. Erie was the site of Tom Smith’s campaign announcement. John Kensinger, a pharmacist, is running for the seat from Bedford County.

Hailing from the northern part of the state, John Vernon started his campaign in September. From Scranton, a businesswoman named Laureen Cummings has also announced a campaign for the Senate seat. Marc Scaringi, an attorney from the Harrisburg-area, also threw his hat into the ring to take on Sen. Casey.

Gun owners who pay close attention may recall that Sen. Casey had an A rating when he last ran for the seat. However, his support on a key vote for national reciprocity in 2009 was revealed to be open to gun control proponents if they felt they needed it to win a legislative battle. He also supported both of Obama’s Supreme Court nominees, including one who voted against individual rights in the McDonald case. With other pro-gun legislation moving in the current Congress, it remains to be seen what happens to the Senator’s 2012 grade.

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