Colorado Senate President John Morse and State Sen. Angela Giron are both out of a job as of Tuesday evening when vote counts showed that recall elections against the pair were successful. Morse lost his seat by about 2 percent of the votes cast, 51 to 49 percent, while Giron, in a Democrat-dominated district, lost 56 to 44 percent. The recall effort was initiated in response to the state legislature passing, and the governor signing, a gun control bill that requires almost all private firearm transfers to go through a licensed dealer and include a background check, requires gun buyers to pay a fee to the dealer for processing the paperwork and limits new magazines to no more than 15 rounds.
We were told by Mike Bloomberg and his crew at Mayors Against Illegal Guns that this election was going to prove once and for all that the "gun lobby's" power is a myth, that politicians who fear the wrath of GunVoters have been conned, and that if politicians will step out in support of gun control, the voters will reward them. Bloomberg wrote a personal check for $350,000 to ensure that his prediction came true and helped recruit other deep-pockets doners like California gazillionaire Eli Broad, who kicked in another $200,000, and major D.C. fundraising fronts that chipped in several hundred thousand dollars more. All told, these individuals and groups contributed the lion's share of some $3,000,000 the campaigns spent trying to save Morse and Giron – at least five times more than the approximately half-million dollars spent by those trying to fire the pair.
Now that the election is over, we hear that the results are relatively meaningless – "just symbolic" – that the only thing proven is that, this time, Republicans succeeded in suppressing the vote, that too much money was wasted on TV commercials – which we learn are no longer a useful campaign tool – that Morse and Giron ran poor campaigns, and that the real reason the recalls succeeded was that Colorado voters just don't like Mike Bloomberg and his money.
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I like this blame-Bloomberg meme. His $350,000 check is being portrayed as a ham-handed attempt to buy the election, and if it weren't for his billions, and his willingness to generously contribute to individual political campaigns, it is unlikely that any respectable politician would give him the time of day. But he is a billionaire, and he does provide lots of candidates and causes with critical financial support, so he is not going to go quietly into the night – but he's wounded, and I say kick the man while he's down.
Bloomberg also suffered a serious political loss in an election in his own hometown. On Tuesday, Bloomberg's hand-picked successor came in third in the Democratic primary for mayor. The reason reported for that loss was, again, voter dislike of Bloomberg. After three terms of Hizzonner, and his policies of restricting soda cup sizes, banning trans-fats and subjecting people walking down the street – particularly people of color – to searches, groping and ID checks, it seems the people of New York are pretty fed up with Bloomberg and his pals.
So right now, Bloomberg is in something of a crisis, and if we learned anything from Barack Obama and his henchman Rahm Emanuel, we should never let a good crisis go to waste. The Firearms Coalition was already in the planning stages of a national assault on Bloomberg and his misleadingly named organization, Mayors Against Illegal Guns. Activists in the state of Nebraska recently celebrated declaring that state MAIG-free as the last mayor in that state to belong to the anti-rights group publicly resigned his membership. The Firearms Coalition would like to help a number of other states also rid themselves of the conflict of interest posed by elected officials being members of Bloomberg's lobbying organization. The timing of Bloomberg's crisis couldn't be more ideal and might allow us not only to weaken his organization and generate some negative press, but to possibly drive the group right out of existence, while making a pariah of Bloomberg himself. We'll need your help and that of your local gun club and grass-roots organizations. Together we might be able to exploit this particular crisis to our political advantage.
As for the defeat of Morse and Giron, it is interesting to note that media and politicians alike are still quoting polls claiming that some 85 percent of Colorado residents support "universal" background checks – which was, after all, the main issue in this election – and trying to suggest that somehow the NRA or the "gun lobby" slipped one over on the overwhelming majority. This is what psychologists call "cognitive dissonance," belief in something that all of the evidence says isn't true. Not only was this election proof that the claims of the demise of the "gun lobby" are totally unfounded, and that politicians' fear of angering GunVoters is extremely prudent, it also demonstrates the unreliability of opinion polls and the bias of the media.
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Democrats still control the Colorado Senate, but now only by one vote, and a number of the Democrats in both houses will be anxious to adjust their voting records prior to next year's election. Consequently, there's a chance that a repeal of the new law could be passed in the next legislative session. We will do our best to make sure a repeal bill is offered and voted on. If it doesn't pass, it will provide more ammunition with which to shift the balance of power come November. I predict this law will be dead and gone by July of 2015 at the latest.
In the meantime, if you and your local club or organization would like to join The Firearms Coalition in our campaign to mute Bloomberg and stomp out MAIG, drop me a note.