Senate Bets – 2016 Edition

New Hampshire:  Incumbent Sen. Kelly Ayotte (R) vs. Governor Maggie Hassan (D)

Senator Ayotte rode the Tea Party wave into office, but she, like many “moderate” Republicans, wavered in the face of the Sandy Hook horror.  She eventually voted against the Manchin-Toomey ban on legal private gun sales, but anti-gun forces smelled blood and have been circling her ever since.  The reality is that Senator Ayotte is not a hard-line Second Amendment supporter. But she’s far better than Governor Hassan who has made support for gun control, particularly banning private sales, one of her flagship issues.  Recent polling shows Ayotte and Hassan in a statistical dead heat. It will boil down to who can get the vote out. Granite State GunVoters can contact Gun Owners of New Hampshire (GONH.org) for volunteer opportunities.

Pennsylvania:  Incumbent Sen. Pat Toomey vs. Katie McGinty

Senator Pat Toomey burned many bridges when he put his name on the Manchin-Toomey “compromise” bill to prohibit private gun transfers.  That some leaders of the gun rights movement even signed off on the legislation did little to satisfy GunVoters who largely abandoned him over the bill.  Pennsylvania GunVoters may not want to support Toomey, but giving McGinty the seat not only brings us closer a Democrat-run Senate and Chuck Shumer as Majority Leader, it gives a boost to a rising star in the Democratic Party. GunVoters need to swallow hard and vote for the Republican.  If you are in Pennsylvania and looking for a way to help, contact our friends at Allegheny County Sportsmen’s League (http://acslpa.org/).  They can point to organizations and friends statewide.

North Carolina:  Incumbent Senator Richard Burr (R)

Richard Burr has run on the Second Amendment, but like many “mainstream” Republicans, he has sought “compromise” where there was no grounds for compromise.  Most recently, he voted to allow debate to go forward on a bill to deny Second and Fifth Amendment rights to anyone on the secret Terrorist Watch List. Burr is another boring Republican who at least does not bring us into a world with Schumer as the Majority Leader.  His opposite number, Deborah Ross, is making her opposition to Second Amendment rights a banner issue. Contact Grass Roots North Carolina (http://grnc.org/) for the latest information and volunteer opportunities.

Florida: Incumbent Sen. Marco Rubio (R) vs. Rep. Patrick Murphy (D)

In Florida, Republican Presidential might-have-been candidate Marco Rubio is running against Rep. Patrick Murphy.  While Rubio has done little to get GunVoters excited, he is generally friendly to gun rights, while Murphy claims that the “NRA fears a shift” in American opinions regarding guns and predicts that Congress no longer fears the wrath of GunVoters.  With some time and effort, Florida GunVoters may be able to correct Rep. Patrick’s view by keeping him out of the Senate. Our friends at Florida Carry (https://www.floridacarry.org) can tell you how to help.

Indiana: Incumbent Sen. Evan Bayh (D) vs. Rep. Todd Young

Moving inland, Indiana features a race between Evan Bayh an incumbent with a dynasty name and Tea Party upstart Todd Young.  Late Senator Birch Bayh was one of the last of the genuine pro-gun Democrats of the previous generation. His son has not continued that tradition, and has instead toed the Democratic party line voting against Second Amend rights at almost every opportunity.  Of the seven toss-up contests in play, Indiana is one of only two opportunities for Republicans to grab a Democratic seat. Indiana GunVoters need to check in with Jim and Margie Tomes who run Second Amendment Patriots. Not only are they legendary activists, they are long-time family friends to the Knox family.

Missouri:  Incumbent Sen. Roy Blunt (R) vs. Rep. Jason Kander (D)

Missouri Sen. Roy Blunt is gaffe-prone and a bit an old-school good ol’ boy politician.  He faces a tough challenge in the form of a young Secretary of State from the other party.  Kander ran an ad showing himself, a former National Guardsman, field-stripping an AR-15 blindfolded while expressing support for banning private transfers and denying Second and Fifth Amendment rights to anyone who is placed on a secret list. Even with his warts, Blunt is better for the Second Amendment, and ultimately the country, than Kander.

Nevada:  Rep. Joe Heck (R) vs. Catherine Cortez Masto (D)

GunVoters shed no tears at the news of Harry Reid’s retirement.  His departure was both a relief and an opportunity to pick up a pro-gun Senate seat.  His hand-picked replacement is former state Attorney General Catherine Cortez Masto, who has already dabbled in gun politics lobbying with Mark Kelly to prohibit private transfers of guns.  Unfortunately, Heck has dabbled with the same position in a vain search for a “moderate” position on the most polarizing of all issues. Hopefully, our friend Don Turner and Nevadans for State Gun Rights (http://nevadansforstategunrights.org/) can educate him.