Consider this another bit of anecdotal evidence that the Democrats’ embrace of an extreme anti-gun agenda hurt them at the polls this year. Not only did Democrats fail to wrest control of any state house or senate chamber from Republicans, many rural Democrats lost long-held seats thanks to their party’s insistence on targeting legal gun owners instead of violent criminals.
South Carolina State Senator Glenn Reese has represented the state’s 11th District since 1990, but after thirty years in office he was unceremoniously tossed out on Election Day, losing to Republican challenger Josh Kimbrell by more than ten points, and he says that gun control may have been a big factor in his loss.
During the campaign, Kimbrell accused Reese of not being conservative enough for a Republican-majority district. He also accused Reese of being anti-Second Amendment, which Reese vehemently denied.
“I support the Second Amendment and have a South Carolina (gun) permit and an out-of-state permit,” he said.
Reese said that may have cost him support, along with many who voted a straight Republican ticket.
Good for Reese for having his concealed carry license, but do you know what else he has? An “C” rating from the NRA, while Kimbrell was rated “AQ”, meaning he received an “A” based on his answers to the organization’s candidate survey, but couldn’t be graded on any votes because he didn’t hold office. Ultimately, gun voters cared far more about what Reese is going to do to protect their right to bear arms than the fact that he’s got a license to carry for himself.
Reese wasn’t just accused of being anti-Second Amendment. His opponent made an issue out of the fact that Reese introduced a bill to ban the possession of firearms on and around a local lake where Reese lives.
Reese, also unopposed in his party’s June 9 primary, said Kimbrell is partially right. He did introduce a bill last year that would make it “unlawful for a person to hunt, possess a firearm or discharge fireworks on or immediately adjacent to the waters of Lake William C. Bowen.”
But Reese, who said he is a gun owner himself, added he is unequivocally a Second Amendment supporter.
“I always have loaded firearms around me, everywhere I go,” said Reese, who owns the Krispy Kreme business in Spartanburg. “I’ve got two gun permits — in-state and an out-of-state permit. I’m the real deal. And they are loaded, ready to go. I’m in business. You don’t take any chances.”
Again, it’s great that Reese has not one but two carry licenses. I’m glad he takes his personal safety seriously. Still, a bill to ban firearms on and around a 1500-acre lake (which also included a ban on hunting) is going to be controversial in a district with a lot of gun owners if for no other reason than it’s an embrace of the idea that gun-free zones actually work. Second Amendment voters don’t elect politicians because they have a concealed carry license. We elect the candidates that will ensure our right to keep and bear arms isn’t going to be infringed.
Reese was one of three incumbent Democratic state senators to suffer defeat in South Carolina, along with two of their Democratic colleagues in the state House. Republicans now control the state Senate 30-16 and the House by a margin of 81-43, and at the congressional level Democrats suffered losses as well.
1st District Democrat incumbent Joe Cunningham, who’s said that AR-15s should “never be in the hands of civilians”, was upset by Republican challenger Nancy Mace, a state representative endorsed by the NRA who’s worked on issues like concealed carry reciprocity while in the state legislature. Mace’s victory gives Republicans control of 6 of the 7 congressional seats in the state, and Democrats in South Carolina can thank their party’s views on gun control and the Second Amendment for helping them lose ground on Election Day this year.