Primary Concerns

The Knox Report

From the Firearms Coalition


Primary Concerns


By Jeff Knox

(April 15, 2008) As the interminable presidential primary process drags on and on, with the media intently focused on the three remaining contenders, GunVoters need to look beyond the national media circus and to pay attention to matters closer to home:  to the primary elections for the House, Senate, governor, and state legislatures.  GunVoters’ chances to make a difference in the presidential primaries has come and gone with the result being no candidate that we can get excited about supporting.  We must make sure the same thing doesn’t happen in congressional, state, and local races as well.

                If GunVoters fail to get involved in the primaries, there might well be no reason to get involved in the general.  Left with the choice of voting for Tweedle-dumb or Tweedle-dumber up and down the ticket, many GunVoters could end up voting with their feet by going hunting or fishing on election day instead of going voting.  The fact is that voters’ power and influence is much greater in a primary election than it ever is during the general election simply because fewer people participate.  In most states, less than 30 percent of eligible voters will cast a ballot in a presidential primary while in others less than 10 percent vote.  In most states the Congressional primaries are held on a different day than the presidential primaries and the voter turnout for the Congressional and legislative primaries is typically even less than it is for the presidential primaries. 

Roughly speaking, only about 25 percent of eligible voters cast a ballot in the presidential primaries and only about 20 percent participate in state primaries that are held on a different day.  The average population of a congressional district is about 650,000 with about 400,000 registered voters.  That means that in a typical congressional primary contest fewer than 100,000 voters participate and that is roughly divided in half between Democrats and Republicans.  So a candidate can win his party’s nomination with only 25,001 votes – or even fewer if there are multiple candidates in the race.  In a race for only 25,000 votes, a few hundred can make all the difference and the leverage increases as you move down the ticket to local and legislative races.

State primaries were held in March in Texas and will be April 22 in Pennsylvania.  May will see primaries held in Indiana and North Carolina (5/6), Nebraska and West Virginia (5/13), Arkansas, Kentucky, and Oregon (5/20), and Idaho (5/27).  There will be primaries and conventions in twelve states in June:  Alabama, California, Iowa, Montana, New Jersey, New Mexico, and South Dakota will all hold primaries on June 3 while Maine, North Dakota, South Carolina, and Virginia will vote on June 10.  Utah’s primary will be June 24.  Georgia and Oklahoma will vote on July 15 and 29 respectively.  Eleven states vote in August and eleven more vote in September with Louisiana closing out the season on October 4.

GunVoters can have even more influence in states that use conventions rather than primaries, but the process is a little more complicated and requires early involvement.  It’s well worth the effort though if there is still time in your state.

The bottom line is that GunVoters must get involved now to make sure that they have decent choices in November.  More information about state election processes, specific candidates, and campaigns can be found at



The Appropriately Named Politician

Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter has proven that he is probably the most appropriately named politician in the country by signing a collection of five gun control measures which are in direct conflict with Pennsylvania’s strong preemption laws.

Nutter made reducing Philadelphia’s high crime rate a core issue in his campaign and had pledged to enact the gun control laws along with several other “crime fighting” initiatives, many of which are as questionable as his gun control schemes.  Among the “crime fighting” measures on the Nutter List: Instruct police to randomly “stop-and-frisk” pedestrians in search of illegal guns.  Create special “targeted enforcement zones” where police would have extra powers to prohibit assembly and establish curfews.  And install hundreds of surveillance cameras throughout the city.  He also promised to hire an additional 500 police officers, institute a 3-1-1 non-emergency police call center, and his boldest pledge, to make a serious effort to find and arrest fugitives who have outstanding warrants.

Along with being at odds with the U.S. and Pennsylvania Constitutions and Pennsylvania law, Mayor Nutter also has to overcome the problem of not having the money to pay for his 3-1-1 call center, buy the surveillance cameras, or to hire the 500 extra cops.  Of course the money problems will only get worse as his budget is depleted fighting unwinnable lawsuits against his unconstitutional policies.


Permission to reprint or post this article in its entirety is hereby granted provided this credit is included.  Text is available at  To receive The Firearms Coalition’s bi-monthly newsletter, The Hard Corps Report, write to PO Box 3313, Manassas, VA  20108. 

©Copyright 2008 Neal Knox Associates