Consistent NRA endorsement of incumbent Democrats with poor voting records promotes “status quo” in a North Carolina legislature which consistently refuses hearings to pro-gun bills…
Previous articles on 2010 candidate ratings and endorsements have focused on a few high profile congressional races and reasons why the NRA rating system is flawed. Let us now examine lesser known races in which we will compare NRA ratings with the percentage of the time a given candidate has voted with gun owners, plus his or her GRNC evaluation. Generally speaking, in this and earlier years, the NRA seems to award incumbents with less than perfect gun rights voting records about a one letter upgrade from what they actually deserve, perhaps as part of its “friendly incumbent” policy.
Candidates who lack voting records:
Speaking of the NRA’s incumbent policy, NRA apologists have responded to GRNC-PVF support for challengers such as Jeff Miller in the 11th Congressional District by asking, “So beside turning in a survey, what has Miller done for gun rights?” While a survey score is certainly less reliable in predicting candidate behavior than a voting record (which is weighed more heavily in “Remember in November” evaluations), the argument suggests we should never elect a candidate who lacks a voting record. Ignoring, for a moment, the apologists’ circular argument (how will they get a voting record if we don’t aren’t elect them?), failing to support new candidates who are anxious to lead on gun issues denies us new gun rights leaders, damning us to “business as usual” erosion of individual freedom.
Typos and errors:
Since NRA apologists have highlighted a single typographical error in GRNC-PVF Alert 10-14-10, which incorrectly put Republican Bryan Holloway in the wrong district, which should be District 91. (My fat-fingered typing is at fault: the “Remember in November” voter guides list him correctly). Therefore, the following includes not only systematic flaws in NRA ratings, but omitted voting records and other NRA errata.
What follows are only those races where critical differences exist between GRNC evaluations and NRA ratings/endorsements. For a full listing of candidates, voting records, bill support and other information plus GRNC-PVF voting recommendations, go to: www.GRNC.org
CRITICAL RACES FOR NC GUN OWNERS
NC House District 81 (Davidson County):
As House Majority Leader, Hugh Holliman repeatedly advised callers he would not use his leadership to obtain a committee hearing for Castle Doctrine bill SB 928, despite overwhelming passage from the Senate and the fact that the primary sponsor, Sen. Doug Berger, was from his own Democrat Party. Under Holliman’s leadership, the Democrat-led North Carolina House killed no less than nine bills intended to improve self-defense and bolster gun rights. (1) Moreover, in 5 terms of office, Holliman has voted only 61% of the time, earning GRNC’s lowest 0-star evaluation. Regardless, the NRA endorsed him over challenger Rayne Brown, who scored 100% on GRNC’s candidate survey, received an “AQ” rating from the NRA, and whom NRA representative Anthony Roullette describes as a “pro Second Amendment/pro-hunting candidate who supports gun owners and sportsmen” in the accompanying letter. GRNC Political Victory Fund (GRNC-PVF) recommends you vote Rayne Brown for NCH-81.
NC House District 41 (Wake):
A late survey from Republican Tom Murry elevates him to a GRNC 3-star (***) evaluation after turning in a survey with a reasonable 84%. NRA lists Democrat opponent Chris Heagerty with a somewhat inflated B+. Heagerty returned GRNC’s survey with 76%, earning only a 2-star (**) evaluation. While neither candidate distinguishes himself as a Second Amendment supporter in this liberal district, GRNC-PVF recommends you vote for Tom Murry.
NC House District 51 (Harnett, Lee):
NRA endorsed incumbent Jimmy Love against challenger Michael Stone despite the fact that Love, in 7 terms in the House, voted with gun owners only 78% of the time, earning a GRNC 3-star (***) evaluation. Stone answered GRNC’s candidate survey with 96%, earning four stars (****). GRNC-PVF recommends you vote for Michael Stone.
NC House District 88 (Alexander, Catawba):
The NRA correctly endorsed pro-gun challenger Mark Hollo (GRNC ****), but gave him only an “AQ” indicating the rating was based solely on a survey response. In actuality, Hollo previously served in the NC House, earning a perfect 100% pro-gun voting record. GRNC-PVF strongly recommends you vote for Mark Hollo.
Mike McIntyre (D-7):
Rated A with endorsement from the NRA, incumbent Democrat McIntyre voted with gun owners only 73% of the time, earning a GRNC 2-star (**) evaluation. GOP challenger Ilario Pantano returned GRNC’s survey with 96%, earning 4 stars (****). GRNC-PVF recommends you vote for Illario Pantano.
NC Senate District 14:
Despite a long history of antipathy to gun rights, the NRA rated incumbent Democrat Dan Blue with a C+. Blue has voted with gun owners only 38% of the time, earning GRNC’s lowest 0-star evaluation. Although challenger Geoffrey Hurlburt failed to return GRNC’s survey, earning a 0-star evaluation, those in the district might be well advised to vote “anybody but Blue.”
NC Senate District 25:
NRA ratings endorse challenger Jason Phibbs with an A- rather than an “AQ,” suggesting Phibbs has a voting record, yet GRNC has no record of previous offices served by him. (Admittedly, it is difficult to track candidates who run for different offices, so if anyone has data on this, we are interested.) At least they endorsed him over anti-gun incumbent Bill Purcell, who does not deserve the NRA C- they gave him, having voted with gun owners only 58% of the time and earning a GRNC 1-star (*) evaluation.
NC Senate District 37:
Although Republican challenger Morgan Edwards didn’t answer NRA’s or GRNC’s survey, the NRA endorsement of incumbent Democrat Daniel Clodfelter, including an A- rating fails to account for Clodfelter’s poor 71% pro-gun voting record, earning only a GRNC 1-star (*) evaluation.
NC Senate District 38:
The NRA rating of C- given to incumbent Democrat Charley Dannelly is ridiculous. Beyond his having voted with gun owners only 32% of the time, during debate over North Carolina’s concealed handgun law, he protested by parading around the chamber with a toy pistol handing over from his belt over his crotch, in an apparent comment on why lawful North Carolinians wanted the right to carry concealed for self-protection.
NC Senate District 49:
NRA should have endorsed challenger RL Clark against incumbent Democrat Martin Nesbitt. Despite an inflated NRA “B-“ rating, Nesbitt has voted with gun owners only 67% of the time, earning a GRNC 1-star (*) evaluation. By contrast, in RL Clark’s previous service in the NC Senate, he garnered a 100% pro-gun voting record and GRNC’s highest (****) evaluation. GRNC-PVF recommends you vote for RL Clark.
NC House District 10:
The NRA awarded incumbent Democrat Van Braxton an inflated A- despite his mediocre 78% pro-gun voting record, which earned a GRNC 3-star (***) evaluation. In previous service in the General Assembly, Republican challenger Stephen LaRoque garnered a 100% pro-gun voting record, earning GRNC’s highest 4-star (****) evaluation. GRNC-PVF recommends you vote for Stephen LaRoque.
NC House District 12:
The NRA gave an A and endorsement to incumbent Democrat William Wainwright despite his mediocre 79% voting record. Republican challenger Mark Griffin responded to GRNC’s survey with a 96%, earning 4 stars (****). GRNC-PVF recommends you vote for Mark Griffin.
NC House District 20:
NRA-endorsed incumbent Democrat Dewey Hill seems to have gotten the characteristic one letter upgrade for incumbency: His 89% voting record earned a GRNC 3-star evaluation, in contrast to a 100% survey and GRNC 4-star (****) evaluation earned by Republican challenger Tristan Patterson. GRNC-PVF recommends you vote for Tristan Patterson.
NC House District 22:
Incumbent Democrat William Brisson received a grossly inflated A- with endorsement from the NRA despite his anti-gun 67% voting record which earned only a GRNC 1-star (*) evaluation. Republican challenger John Szoka turned in a perfect 100% survey, earning a GRNC 4-star (****) evaluation. GRNC-PVF recommends you vote for John Szoka.
NC House District 23:
NRA endorsed incumbent Democrat Joe Tolson, inflating him to an A- rating despite his 75% voting record, which earned only a GRNC 2-star (**) evaluation. Republican challenger Garland Shepheard turned in an 87% survey, earning a GRNC 3-star (***) evaluation. GRNC-PVF recommends you vote for Garland Shepheard.
NC House District 46:
No NRA endorsement here, but an inflated B to incumbent Democrat Douglas Yongue, whose 69% voting record earned only 2 stars (**) from GRNC. Challenger Gaston Pridgen turned in an 86% survey, earning 3 stars (***) from GRNC.GRNC-PVF recommends you vote for Gaston Pridgen.
NC House District 48:
No NRA endorsement here, but an inflated B- to incumbent Democrat Garland Pierce, who voted with gun owners only 62% of the time, earning a GRNC 1-star (*) evaluation. Challenger John Harry turned in a GRNC 98% survey, earning 4 stars (****).GRNC-PVF recommends you vote for John Harry.
NC House District 50:
No NRA endorsement here, but an inflated B+ to incumbent Democrat Bill Faison, who voted with gun owners only 69% of the time, earning a GRNC 2-star (**) evaluation. Challenger Rick Smith turned in a GRNC 100% survey, earning 4 stars (****). GRNC-PVF recommends you vote for Rick Smith.
NC House District 93:
No NRA endorsement here, but an inflated C to incumbent Democrat Cullie Tarleton, whose 67% voting record earned only a GRNC 2-star (**) evaluation. Challenger Jonathan Jordan turned in a 91% survey, earning a GRNC 4-star (****) evaluation. GRNC-PVF recommends you vote for Jonathan Jordan.
NC House District 118:
No NRA endorsement here, but a grossly inflated C+ to incumbent Democrat Ray Rapp, whose extremely anti-gun 58% voting record earned only a GRNC 1-star (*) evaluation. Challenger Samuel Edwards turned in a 94% survey, earning a GRNC 4-star (****) evaluation. GRNC-PVF recommends you vote for Samuel Edwards.
NC House District 119:
No NRA endorsement here, but an inflated C+ to incumbent Democrat Phil Haire, whose 63% voting record earned only a GRNC 0-star evaluation. Challenger Dodie Allen turned in an 82% survey and earning a GRNC 3-star (***) evaluation. GRNC-PVF recommends you vote for Dodie Allen.
TO GRNC SUPPORTERS:
NRA apologists will doubtless attempt to tie us up and distract from GRNC’s election efforts by demanding to know specifically which bills a given candidate voted for or against. All should understand that GRNc is far more open in explaining how candidate evaluations are arrived at then the NRA, which does not routinely release information on how its ratings are derived.
Accordingly, given 300+ candidates and votes being tracked back to 1994, requests for candidate specific records will be processed as follows: GRNC members with fully paid Life and Benefactor memberships or with five consecutive years of paid membership may receive up to three (3) such requests free of charge. All others may obtain them for a GRNC donation of $50 per candidate by mailing requests to: “Flawed NRA Ratings Verification,” Grass Roots North Carolina, P.O. Box 10665, Raleigh, NC 27605. All orders will be processed after November 2.