Posts Tagged ‘Eric Cantor’

The Washington Post reports today that Dave Brat is focused on the economy after his stunning upset of Representative Eric Cantor last Tuesday.  He also is keeping the media at arm’s length:

Despite staging the biggest political upset in recent memory, Brat has remained completely out of sight since his victory party, while Cantor went on ABC’s “This Week” on Sunday.

Probably not a bad idea and not really all that unusual really.  Brat was not expected to win.  He took down Goliath and the national media wants to talk to him, and likely try to show he is not ready for the national stage.  Here’s a news flash – Brat isn’t running for the “national stage.”  He is running to be the congressman for the 7th Congressional District.  Apparently a lot of people wanted Cantor to be the 7th District congressman and when he ascended to the national stage they thought he lost touch with the people back home.  I don’t necessarily agree with that assessment but that seems to be what caused a lot of former Cantor supporters into Brat supporters this primary season.

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Thanks to the Wall Street Journal Washington Wire Blog, we get a little glimpse of the 7th Congressional District Democrat candidate Jack Trammell.  Until Tuesday, he was operating a one man campaign with a homemade web site that gave just a information about his background:

Mr. Trammell, 50 years old, wrote on his original campaign website about admiration for John F. Kennedy, the fact that six of his family’s seven children are currently in college and that he lives on a farm at the intersection of a local highway and a river.

But that all changed Tuesday night with Cantor’s unexpected loss:

He launched a new website that is a cookie-cutter version of campaign splash pages. It has a form to collect email address and make a contribution. There’s a three paragraph biography. “He was an active worker on both Clinton campaigns in Kentucky … he also worked for the Dukakis campaign.” And it links to his bare-bones social media presence.

“When we saw the opportunity that Tuesday night’s vote presented to us we chatted with him about helping him revamp his website,” Robert Dempsey, executive director of the Virginia Democratic Party, said. “We were able to offer him some helpful suggestions.”

You can bet with support for both Clinton and Dukakis, Trammell is not going to be campaigning as a strong supporter of the Second Amendment.

What once was expected to just be another sacrificial lamb put up against a well established incumbent is now a campaign where he is equal to his opponent – a little known individual with even less experience raising money.  We already know that the state Democratic Party is on board for Trammell and you can bet the national Democrats will join soon.  The question is, will the NRCC step in to provide the necessary fundraising assistance to help Brat hold this R+10 district.

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The Richmond Times Dispatch (RTD) reports that national radio talk show personality Laura Ingraham was in town last night to give a boost to Dave Brat’s long shot campaign to oust House Majority Leader Eric Cantor.  While Brat’s supporters are posting on Facebook and telling anyone who will listen that Cantor’s barrage of direct mail is an indication that his internal polling is not going so well, the odds still favor a Cantor win over the badly underfunded Brat.  The question is whether it will be a resounding victory or less than stellar.  Observers may view a victory where Cantor secures less than 60% a blow to his standing as next in line to be Speaker of the House.

The Times article noted that some attending the event last night were meeting Brat for the first time, an indication that his campaign may be getting more attention, but will it be to little to late?

Brat gave his stump speech, telling the members of the audience, many of whom indicated they were seeing him for the first time, that he is running because Washington is broken.

The reporter reached out to Cantor’s campaign consultant who dismissed the event as another indication that the Brat campaign is being run out of Washington.  Ingraham broadcasts her program from Washington, DC.  I guess Brat could make the same charge about Cantor since Representative Paul Ryan was the featured speaker at the annual Cantor Campaign Breakfast this year.

It’s comment’s like the one made by Cantor’s consultant that probably prompted the RTD to run this editorial last Sunday.

Cantor has been endorsed by the NRA and has a strong voting record in support of our rights in both the Virginia General Assembly and the House of Representatives.  The 7th District GOP Primary is June 10th.

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We are just a couple weeks away from the 7th Congressional District Republican Primary and if you are like me, you can’t wait for this to end.  On the way to Lake Anna yesterday to spend Memorial Day with friends, you couldn’t miss all of the Tea Party homemade billboards along Rt. 33, some trashing Congressman Eric Cantor and some singing the praises of Randolph Macon Econ Professor and challenger Dave Brat.  Cantor’s campaign has painted Brat as a “liberal professor” that advised tax raising former governor and now U.S. Senator Tim Kaine.  Brat and his supporters (some of whom have been strong supporters of Cantor in the past) have cried foul.  There may be some hyperbole in that claim but Brian Kirwin has a post over at Bearing Drift that indicates the label “liberal college professor” may be on target, or at least may have been about nine years ago.

Now, Brat would not be the first person to change his views over time. But, his writings from 2005 does make one wonder just how thoroughly the Tea Party folks vetted their challenger or if it was simply “anybody but Cantor.”  And, those writings might explain why Tim Kaine chose Brat for his economic team.

Note: As of today, the NRA Political Victory Fund web site has not posted ratings for the June 10th Primary, but in 2012, Cantor earned the NRA-PVF highest rating of “A+”.  He has done nothing in the last two years that would indicate he will get a lower rating this year.


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On Friday, in my role as VSSA Legislative Director, I had the opportunity to speak with Cam Edwards on NRANews’ Cam and Company about Terry McAuliffe’s latest anti-gun changes to legislation passed by the 2014 General Assembly, as well as Internet troll Mike Dickinson.


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I was out running errands during lunch and heard an anti-Eric Cantor ad on WRVA during Rush Limbaugh.

The ad is paid for by Virginia Vision Action PAC and attacks Cantor for going to Florida this weekend to appear at a fund raiser for The Republican Main Street Partnership PAC, a newly formed “Super PAC” thats aim is to support incumbents or other “mainstream” candidates being opposed by Tea Party aligned candidates. Cantor was originally scheduled to appear with Speaker of the House John Boehner but Boehner backed out at the last-minute.   At the end of the ad, it encourages people to vote for Dave Brat for Congress, a Randolph Macon College economics professor who is challenging Cantor in the June 10th,  7th District Republican Primary.

Brat is likely going to need the help of outside groups because as of the end of April, Cantor had $1.5 million in the bank.  A quick check of the FEC only shows Brat’s candidate filing and no April Quarterly fundraising report.  It doesn’t hurt to have this ad running on the 50,000 watt blow torch WRVA, the largest and most listened to talk station in the 7th Congressional District.  WRVA airs Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity in addition to Michael Savage.  It is the 7th District’s conservative voice on radio.

NRAPVF endorsements have not been posted for the 7th District primary yet but it’s a safe bet that Cantor will get the endorsement because he has a long record of supporting the rights of Virginia gun owners.  NRA has an incumbent-friendly policy that dictates support for pro-gun incumbents seeking re-election regardless of party.  Cantor received an “A+” rating from the NRA Political Victory Fund in 2012 and has done nothing to change that rating in the last two years.  NRA is a single issue organization so no matter what one’s gripes are with Cantor’s voting record on other issues, he is good on guns.

As an aside, while I may not be completely happy with all of Cantor’s votes of late, to call him a RINO is not accurate either.  John McCain is a RINO.  Chuck Hagel is a RINO.  Eric Cantor is no RINO.

You can hear the ad below.




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If you saw this picture, would you think that the room included members of the press asking questions of the speaker?


Well, you would be wrong.  That is actually one of the paid staff members of the National Association for Gun Rights (NAGR) in a staged photo taken after today’s event at the Commonwealth Park Hotel in downtown Richmond.  NAGR scheduled a press conference to unveil their new advertisement charging 7th District Congressman and House Majority Leader Eric Cantor with supporting a large portion of Obama’s gun control agenda.  But no press showed up.  Four members of the public (who it can be presumed received an email invitation), and six staff members of NAGR were all that showed up.  Apparently for the purposes of sending the late afternoon email inviting their subscribers to a similar event in Virginia Beach on Friday, they staged this photo to make it appear as if the press actually showed up.

It would be charitable to say the ad that was unveiled is misleading.  Cantor has not expressed support for any of Obama’s stated agenda and the statements he has made are related to improving the mental health information that is reported to the NICS.  Cantor has used Virginia as an example of what other states could do to keep firearms out of the hands of those who are a danger to themselves and others without infringing on the rights of law-abiding gun owners.  That apparently is his crime in the eyes of NAGR.

Here are the facts:

Cantor has a long record of supporting our rights in Congress over the last 12 years including

  • Voted YES on prohibiting product misuse lawsuits on gun manufacturers. (Oct 2005)
  • Voted YES on prohibiting suing gunmakers & sellers for gun misuse. (Apr 2003)
  • No lawsuits against gun manufacturers. (Jan 2001)
  • Rated A by the NRA, indicating a pro-gun rights voting record. (Dec 2003)
  • National cross-state standard for concealed carry. (Jan 2009)
  • Ban gun registration & trigger lock law in Washington DC. (Mar 2007)
  • Allow reloading spent military small arms ammunition. (Apr 2009)

Cantor voted for the NICS Improvement Act in 2007 which was signed into law by President George W. Bush on January 8, 2008.  The NICS Improvement Act includes numerous protections prohibiting the very things that NAGR accused Cantor of supporting in their ad.  Those protections that Cantor supported include:

  • Requires all federal agencies that impose mental health adjudications or commitments to provide a process for “relief from disabilities.”  Extreme anti-gun groups like the Violence Policy Center and Coalition to Stop Gun Violence have expressed “strong concerns” over this aspect of the bill—surely a sign that it represents progress for gun ownership rights.
  • Prevents reporting of mental adjudications or commitments by federal agencies when those adjudications or commitments have been removed.
  • Provides a process of error correction if a person is inappropriately committed or declared incompetent by a federal agency. The individual would have an opportunity to correct the error-either through the agency or in court.
  • Prevents use of federal “adjudications” that consist only of medical diagnoses without findings that the people involved are dangerous or mentally incompetent. This would ensure that purely medical records are never used in NICS. Gun ownership rights would only be lost as a result of a finding that the person is a danger to themselves or others, or lacks the capacity to manage his own affairs.

There is absolutely no proof to support the charge that Cantor supports “key parts” of the Obama gun ban agenda.  In fact, if Cantor did support “key parts” of Obama’s gun ban agenda, House Judiciary Charmian Bob Goodlatte would not be able to say this.  But accuracy has never been a strong suit of NAGR anyway.

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As a volunteer NRA-ILA Election Volunteer Coordinator, from time to time, I will get phone calls from NRA members who have seen my name on their NRA magazine and want to know what they can do to help the NRA endorsed candidates.  Working from home today, I received a call from an individual who identified himself as a member of one of Virginia’s state gun rights organizations.  After stating that he saw my name and phone number on his NRA magazine, he continued that based on information he received from this other state organization about 7th District Congressman and House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, and due to the fact the NRA endorsed Cantor, he was not going to renew his NRA membership.  Lucky for me, I don’t pick up the phone when I don’t recognize the name or number of the caller so while I could hear the message he was leaving, I did not have to engage him.  

It has been my experience that folks like this don’t want to listen to the other side, they simply want to berate people with whom they do not agree.  He should have saved his breath.  As a volunteer, it does not do him a lot of good to tell me that he is not going to renew his NRA membership.  It’s not like I am going to pick up the phone and pass on his message to Fairfax, especially since I agree with NRA’s endorsement of Congressman Cantor. 

This other state organization has had a running feud with Cantor because the 7th District Republican Committee has held its annual Republican Roundup event at the Snagajob Pavillion, which does not allow firearms on the property.  Cantor has not agreed to their demands to move the event, even though it is not even his campaign that hosts the event, he simply attends, as does almost every other local and statewide Republican elected official if their schedules allow.  George Allen was at this year’s event too.

But other than the fact that a local Republican organization chooses a particular location for its well attended outdoor event, and Cantor attends the event, that by the way is free to the attendees so they are not rasing any money, please tell me what it is that Eric Cantor has done in the last ten years or more that he has been in office at both the state and federal level that has earned him the label “Anti-gun.”

Cantor did cast a vote that was anti-rights when he joined a number of other Republicans in voting for an amended version of Doug Wilder’s handgun rationing bill.  That was 1993.  It was a bad vote that he should not have cast but it should be noted, that Governor Bob McDonnell also voted for that bill in 1993.  That did not keep McDonnell from being endorsed by this same group in both 2005 and 2009.  McDonnell did pledge to support repeal of the rationing law.  So by a like measure, since 1993, Cantor has supported every pro-rights bill either by voting for it or signing on as a co-sponsor, that has come before him.  The list is too long for this space, but if pledging to repeal a law that you voted for almost 20 years ago is enough to wipe away the past bad judgement, one would think that voting for every pro-rights bill in the last 20 years would carry the same weight.  This other group also notes that Cantor voted for a bill that same year (HB2273) that according to them would have “banned self-defense shotguns.”  Unfortunately, the General Assembly’s Legislative Information System only goes back as far as 1994, so I cannot access the bill to review its content.

What disappoints this blogger most is the fact that some pro-rights groups  have no problem with trying to score points by working against people who have been our friend.  Gun owners have a record on which to judge Eric Cantor.  With the exception of the vote on handgun rationing, his record is great on our issue.  Cantor voted for Virginia’s “Shall Issue” concealed handgun law. He voted for a bill that allows a person to carry a concealed weapon without a permit while in his own place of business as well as provides that the training required prior to issuance of a concealed handgun permit never expires. He voted for the “Lawful Commerce in Arms Act” that prohibits politically motivated lawsuits against firearms dealers and manufacturers.  He signed both congressional “Friend of the Court” briefs supporting Heller and McDonald.  In short, Cantor is a friend to gun owners.

So, what is the motivation of this other group?  If you look at the web site this group has thrown up (and I’m not going to link to it), it appears money is at least part of the motivation.  On more than one page of the web site, they have “Donate” links.

To put this complaint about holding an event at non-gun friendly venues in perspective, NRA has held its Annual Meeting at facilities that have had restrictions on carrying firearms.  Sometimes this is unavoidable as there are only a certain number of locations large enough to accommodate the 70,000 people who attend that event.  While this other group has stated they offered nine other locations that are firearm friendly for the Republican Roundup, the group does not name where those venues are located, likely because they are not in locations that would make it easy for the largest number of people to attend.  The population center of this sprawling district is in the Richmond metro area.  Snagajob holds a large number of people and is located in the western Henrico County, where a large portion of the district resides.

Finally, this same group hosts membership tables at gun shows, events that do not allow loaded firearms inside the venue.  So,  it begs the question, what is their real beef with Cantor?

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The NRA Political Victory Fund has endorsed Congressman Eric Cantor in Virginia’s 7th District, and George Allen for U.S. Senate.  The NRA-PVF said in endorsing Eric Cantor:

While serving in Congress, Majority Leader Eric Cantor joined the historic briefs filed before the U.S. Supreme Court in District of Columbia v. Heller and McDonald v. City of Chicago, which argued that the Second Amendment guarantees a fundamental, individual Right to Keep and Bear Arms in Virginia and everywhere else in America. Cantor voted to hold Attorney General Eric Holder in criminal and civil contempt of Congress for refusing to comply with congressional subpoenas related to the deadly Operation Fast and Furious scandal. He cosponsored and voted for the “Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act,” which protected American gun makers from being sued into bankruptcy, and voted for H.R. 822, “The National Right-to-Carry Reciprocity Act,” which would ensure that law-abiding Americans with valid concealed handgun permits would be able to carry a concealed handgun in any other state that does not prohibit concealed carry.

In endorsing George Allen, the NRA-PVF stated:

As Governor of Virginia, George Allen supported and signed Virginia’s Right-to-Carry law, abolished parole for violent criminals, and promoted truth-in-sentencing legislation. While in Congress, Allen cosponsored and voted for the Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act, which protects American gun makers from being sued into bankruptcy. He also sponsored National Right-to-Carry Reciprocity legislation, cosponsored the Disaster Recovery Personal Protection Act, and voted to prohibit gun confiscation during states of emergency.

Please contact Eric Cantor and George Allen to see how you can help in these final days of the campaign.

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Congressional Quarterly ran a great article this morning about Eric Cantor and his “monster first-quarter” campaign finance report, raising an impressive $963,900.  That more than doubled his take from the comparable first quarter of the last non-election year — 2007 — the other six members of the House Republican leadership combined to produce $25,900 less in the first three months of 2009 than they had two years earlier. Together, those six raised $1,031,100 for the first quarter of 2009 — only $67,200 more than Cantor.

Cantor is my congressman and he is one of the few bright spots in what can only be described as a dismal period for the GOP right now.  He has always been a hard worker and the fact he is an “A” when it comes to Second Amendment issues just makes him that much better in my book.  While I disagreed with his vote on the bailout bill late last year, he has an otherwise spotless record when it comes to voting conservative. 

Cantor’s Chief of Staff Rob Collins when asked about the great numbers said, “We’re grateful that we have been able to tap into a grass-roots energy to support Eric Cantor and the common sense conservative ideas he brings to the table.”

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