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.
RMGO cleans gun grabbers clocks at GOP Convention;
elect pro-gun delegates
Though the media reported part of last Saturday's Republican State Convention, they hardly got the story.
It was clear from early in the morning that gun rights supporters had the overwhelming majority of delegates: RMGO volunteers applied hunter orange stickers to convention-goers that said "GOP does NOT mean Gun Ownership is Prohibited: Support the Second Amendment." More than 2/3 of the building would wear this lapel sticker before the end of the day.
Owens' reception by Colorado Republicans was chilly, and when he began his speech, more than half of the 3200 delegates/1000 alternates raised RMGO-printed signs that said "No More Gun Control. Period." 50-some members of RMGO and the Tyranny Response Team walked up to the stage, shouting "Liar" and "No More Gun Control."
Owens tried to ignore the demonstration, but couldn't: clearly, the Governor cut his speech short when the "No More Gun Control" chant drowned him out.
Was this demonstration proper? We can think of NO MORE APPROPRIATE PLACE to voice our displeasure with Gov. Owens' views and his betrayal of his oath of office.
Often Republicans tell RMGO that they are personally upset with Owens' flip-flop on gun issues, but say we should work our differences out with Owens in a more appropriate setting: where better than the State Republican Convention, where the GOP is supposed to have its political battles and take stances on controversial issues.
But this was only the outward, public display of the GOP distaste for Owens and overwhelming support of our gun rights.
Every 4 years, the GOP state convention elects delegates and alternates to the National Convention, where the party's platform isset.
Normally, the battle for delegates centers around "social issues." This year, the battle centered squarely around firearms rights, withRMGO going on the offensive.
Rocky Mountain Gun Owners has been working hard to "stack" the State Convention: in April we sent thousands of pieces of mail outto gun rights supporters, urging them to go to their precinct caucus(a requirement to be a delegate to the State Convention).
RMGO handed out an anti-gun slate of people thatwould undoubtedly make delegate (and usually do). This "anti-slate" listed elected officials (both former and current) as well asparty regulars who have compromised our rights, and couldn't becounted on to vote for a solid, no compromise gun rights platform.
Of those people, only Gov. Owens and the Party chairman even made it as delegate. Gov. Owens came in 4th in total votes -- a total embarassment -- to Rep. Joe Nunez, Sen. Marilyn Musgrave, and a hardcore conservative party activist. Former State Rep. Chris Paulson and current Rep. Joe Stengel (both on our anti-gun slate) didn't even make alternate.
Also notable is that 1998 2nd Congressional Candidate (NRA "A" rated and endorsed, of course) and darling of the establishment Bob Greenlee failed to even make alternate at the State Convention: Greenlee had publicly signed SAFE's Gun Control Initiative, and RMGO held him accountable for it.
RMGO also put out a pro-gun slate, consisting of delegate wanna-bes that will accept NO compromise of our 2nd Amendment rights, regardless of the wishes of Gov. George Bush or other party leadership.
ALL of our pro-gun slate made delegate except one person, who made it as first alternate. Very few on our pro-gun list (except for#1 and #2 vote-getters Nunez and Musgrave) were "big name" people within the party, while everyone we put on the anti-gun slate were THE big name politicos. In essence, we cleaned their clocks.
(If you'd like to see the results, go to http://www.cologop.org/WhatsHot/state_assembly.htm)
The state convention passed a resolution reaffirming our rights to keep and bear arms by 96%, though that resolution had absolutely no teeth.
This all happened with RMGO doing the work it takes to organize the caucuses and the slates, with TRT assisting with the demonstration.
Though the NRA State lobbyist, the Firearms Coalition and the Shooting Association cheered us on, they could have actively worked to elect a pro-gun slate. Many delegates reported to us that the FCC and CSSA were defending at least one politician on the anti-gun slate, though that politician had signed a written pledge to support Vermont-style concealed carry but voted against it.
Imagine the results had there been a concerted effort by every gun group instead of RMGO and the activists with TRT.
A hearty well-done to the activists that helped pull off this enormous victory, and to the GOP State Convention delegates who put principle ahead of politics, didn't compromise and stood their ground on the gun issue.
Rocky Mountain Gun Owners
On Saturday, June 3 Republicans will gather at the Denver Coliseum for the Colorado Republicans State Convention.
Rocky Mountain Gun Owners will have a table in the Convention, and is actively working to get pro-gun delegates elected to the Republican National Convention. This state convention's delegates, and the delegates to the national convention, vote upon a variety of resolutions, including our right to keep and bear arms.
RMGO is urging everyone who is not a delegate or alternate to the Colorado Republican State Convention to call the State Party at 303-758-3333 for a guest badge.
Only delegates, alternates, and others with a guest badge will be allowed in the convention. Call your county GOP party, or the State GOP to get a guest badge.
RMGO will have a large army of gun rights supporters outside the convention with pro-gun lapel stickers, and workers inside doing everything possible to defend our gun rights.
Hope to see you there.