Every year the NRA elects one third of its 76-member Board of Directors to a three-year term, plus one to a one-year term, and every year I share my thoughts on the candidates. Only Life Members and Annual Members with at least five consecutive years of membership are eligible to vote. Those members will have received a mail-in ballot in their latest NRA magazine. If you did, VOTE, and be sure to read the directions carefully.

For those voting members of NRA who don’t want to bother reading the whole column, I’ll tell you up front that I am only endorsing one candidate this year: Sean Maloney. I encourage voting members to “Bullet Vote,” marking only Sean Maloney’s name and no one else.

This year there are two issues above and beyond regular NRA internal politics: a recall effort against Grover Norquist and the controversy over Ted Nugent’s “sharing” of a rather blatantly anti-Semitic Facebook meme.

I think the Facebook controversy surrounding Nugent is pretty overblown. Ted is an old-school rocker, not particularly known for PC sensibilities. He should have looked at the picture a little more closely before forwarding it on with his comments, but he didn’t, and people who don’t like him made a huge deal about it. I’ve known Ted for a long time. My sister used to babysit his kids. While he certainly has his faults, anti-Semitism isn’t one of them. In spite of monumental efforts from the anti-rights media, the charges against Ted seem to have fizzled after he made a public apology to, and through, the Zelman Partisans, a group of hardline rights activists who split from Jews for the Preservation of Firearm Ownership after its founder, Aaron Zelman, passed away and the group was absorbed by Alan Gottlieb and the Second Amendment Foundation. The controversy is not going to hurt Ted’s re-election bid.

As to the effort to recall Grover Norquist, I do not support it. I’ve known Grover for a number of years, and while I don’t always agree with him on other political issues, and I would prefer that politicians, celebrities and political insiders like Norquist be part of an advisory board rather than members of the policymaking body of the NRA, I think the charges proffered against him are bogus and that removing him from office would be harmful to the Association. I fully expect the membership to reject the recall, and I encourage members to vote NO.

NRA elects board members to a three-year term, with 25 seats, one-third of the board, up for election each year – and incumbents have a significant advantage. The class that is up for election this year has more “celebrity” members than either of the other two groups, making it the most difficult to break into. Along with Ted Nugent, Oliver North and Susan Howard of “Dallas” fame, the class also includes basketball’s Carl Malone, football star Dave Butz and NASCAR great Richard Childress. Then there are the politicians, former Sen. Larry Craig, former Reps. Don Young and Bob Barr, former Missouri Gov. Matt Blunt and Indiana State Sen. Johnny Nugent. Finally, there are the NRA and industry celebrities, former NRA Presidents Marion Hammer and Sandy Froman, and current NRA First Vice President Pete Brownell. Of these 14, only one is at any risk of failing to make the cut. I’ll leave it to you to guess which one. That leaves only 12 seats, and some of those are filled by well-respected stalwarts who are solidly ensconced.

At best, four, maybe five seats could be in play this year. Allen West, a former congressman and popular columnist, will almost certainly take a seat. Bart Skelton, gun writer and son of gun writing legend Skeeter Skelton, and Craig Morgan, country singer and outdoor show host, both have some celebrity status, but I’m not sure how deep that runs among voting members, or how much effort they have been putting into winning a seat. Either could possibly make the cut. There are also competitive shooters, likely to draw heavy support from those ranks, and local activists who are campaigning hard, but I doubt that will be enough. All appear to be solid candidates. Some are personal friends, but I don’t think it is likely that any of them can garner enough votes to unseat any of the incumbents.

The one incumbent I strongly support, and who I see as most vulnerable, is Sean Maloney. I endorsed Maloney and his fellow Colorado Recall architect Timothy Knight last year. Knight made the cut, but Maloney did not. Thankfully, he was able to win election to the one-year, “76th Director” seat that is voted on each year at the NRA’s Annual Meeting of members. During his year on the board, he obviously impressed folks because he has gotten the nod from the Nominating Committee this year, as well as being nominated by petition. That’s pretty unusual but doesn’t surprise me. Maloney is an impressive guy and a workhorse for the cause. He’s an Ohio attorney, where he is very active in local battles, but he virtually moved to Colorado to assist with the recall effort. And that’s not the first, or last, time he’s simply shown up on the front lines with his work gloves on asking how he can help. He’s a firebrand and he’s smart. We need people like Maloney on the NRA Board.

I am going to vote only for Maloney, because if I cast a vote for any one of the other 19 candidates actually competing for the last few seats, that person – who I like but don’t support as strongly as I support Maloney – could bump Maloney out of the running, meaning I would be negating my own vote.

Therefore, I am asking NRA voting members to join me in casting a single “Bullet Vote” for Sean Maloney.

Media wishing to interview Jeff Knox, please contact [email protected].

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