That’s the question the Washington Post asked in this article over the weekend:
In addition to airing TV ads in several states, the NRA blanketed its home state — the group’s headquarters is in Fairfax County — with direct-mail material touting Republican Ed Gillespie, the former lobbyist who is running against Sen. Mark R. Warner (D). Gillespie, the mailer says, is the antidote to the “Obama/Bloomberg gun control agenda.” And more are expected.
The ad could have unintended consequences for Gillespie, who secured the nomination in part by courting tea party conservatives but who is now trying to woo more-moderate general-election voters.
Gillespie risks alienating the electorate in vote-rich Northern Virginia who may be turned off by Second Amendment rhetoric, especially after mass shootings at Virginia Tech in 2007 and an elementary school in Newtown, Conn., in 2012.
As the article goes on the Post points out that in some parts of Virginia, that message may resonate but in others like Northern Virginia and Tidewater, they may alienate “moderate” voters that Gillespie needs to pull an upset. But the Post should know that the NRA is mailing that piece to friendly voters – either NRA members, or lists they have purchased or acquired of like minded voters like hunters. So, that flyer is likely not to have a negative impact on Gillespie.
However, Tom Gresham brought up a more important point on his radio program yesterday about the larger NRA ads hitting Michael Bloomberg, ads also discussed in the Post article. The ads in question start out talking about how “liberals” view our country then goes on to talk about Bloomberg and “elitists.” Gresham question if the term liberals might not turn off some people who are with us on gun rights.
Gresham is not the first to make this point. Shortly after this year’s NRA Annual Meeting this year, Sebastian over at Shall Not Be Questioned asked if NRA’s messaging was getting too doctrinaire conservative:
If we’re going to have long term security for this issue, it needs to be bipartisan. I believe the Republican Party may enjoy some short-term success over the next several years, if only because of overreach by the progressive wing of the Democratic Party. But over the long-term, if the Republicans do not adjust their own message to be more palatable to younger voters, demographics will turn to the Democratic Party into the dominant party. And then what? Any strategy for preserving gun rights has to recognize that there are a lot of gun people out there who are not doctrinaire conservatives, and even liberals. I’m always surprised by how many liberal gun owners read this site.
I don’t presume to know more than NRA on this subject, but I do think both Gresham and Sebastian make good points.
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