FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
Wed., August 9, 2000
Gun Rights Advocates Win Big in Colorado’s Primary Elections;
Gov. “Gun Control” Owens a Lead Anchor
Though most pundits had written off candidates who strongly support gun rights, Tuesday’s Primary Election in Colorado showed that standing firm on the issue was the key to victory, said the State’s largest gun rights organization.
“Candidates who didn’t back down on the Second Amendment won big in the GOP primaries,” said Dudley Brown, Executive Director of Rocky Mountain Gun Owners. “The gun-grabbers really got their clocks cleaned last night.”
Brown is referring to a score of state legislative primary battles where firearms rights were an issue in the race, and where the most “pro-gun” candidates won.
“In almost every case, guns were the major issue,” Brown said. “We advised candidates to stand against gun control, and voters agreed with us.”
Topping the list of upsets was the victory of Bruce Cairns of Aurora, who ran against well-financed and Gov. Owens backed State. Rep. Gary McPherson, who was the term-limited heir-apparent to Senate District 28. Cairns defied “experts” by handily defeating McPherson 58% to 42%, largely on the gun issue.
Brown said McPherson, a 4-term legislator, had voted for numerous compromises on the right to keep and bear arms, compromises gun owners don’t take lightly.
Rocky Mountain Gun Owners mailed heavily in Senate District 28, informing voters and lobbying McPherson to “change his ways.” Instead, voters changed elected officials.
Gov. Owens apparently was little help – he backed McPherson early, but failed to make the difference in his own back yard. Owens also backed two other current legislators, Ron May and Lauri Clapp, who both won but by very slim margins in races where their challengers, Douglas Bruce and Heidi Frey, were given little chance.
“Gov. Gun Control was a lead anchor in this primary,” said Brown. “Where Owens got involved, he either lost the race or tightened what would have been a runaway race. It’s clear by his icy reception at the State GOP convention and with primary voters that Bill Owens has misread the Republican Party on gun issues.”
Lauri Clapp, a first-term Republican from Englewood, was opposed from the left by Heidi Frey, a gun control advocate. But Brown claims Clapp ran from the gun issue, failing to define her campaign and aligning herself with Gov. Owens, who has backed numerous gun control issues.
Brown blames the closeness of the race on Clapp’s betrayal of her base vote, namely gun owners.
“Once Heidi Frey started attacking Clapp for being too pro-gun, Clapp got weak-kneed, refused to answer the RMGO survey, and started talking about ‘reasonable’ gun control,” said Brown.
“Clapp stood strong with us in her 1st election in 1998, then backed off by refusing to even answer our survey this election,” said Brown. “Many of our members, frankly, were ticked off, and probably stayed home.”
Brown claims Clapp would have won her race by an overwhelming margin, like the Cairns-McPherson race, had she stood firm with gun owners.
Brown cited other races where the candidate with the more pro-gun stance won, and where RMGO played an active role informing voters, including House District 31 where Pam Rhodes beat Barb Kirkmeyer, HD40 where Debbi Stafford defeated Pete Kirchhof, HD26 where gun advocate Scott McKay easily defeated Gene Motta, HD22 where Dave Schultheis won, Senate District 21 where Penn Pfiffner prevailed, SD26 where Jim Dyer beat well-know liberal Martha Kreutz, and HD51 where Tim Fritz won. All of these races, claims Brown, were won by the more pro-gun candidate.