Just a few days ago that we reported Michael Bloomberg’s Everytown for Gun Safety was planning on spending millions of dollars on training and recruiting gun control activists for office in the 2022 midterm elections. This isn’t exactly a new strategy for the gun control organization, though they’re definitely putting more money behind the effort than they’ve done in the past. For several election cycles, however, the anti-gun org has been encouraging some of its volunteers to run for office, including Alexis Gervanter; a Democrat from Connecticut who recently squared off against Republican Ryan Fazio in a special election for a state Senate seat in the Connecticut legislature.
Fazio annoyed many gun owners by refusing to make the Second Amendment a campaign issue, which resulted in Newsmax host and Greenwich resident Carl Higbie penning a column in the local paper warning that Fazio (and the Connecticut GOP) was taking gun owners for granted. Higbie even said he was going to sit out the special election if Fazio didn’t become more outspoken in his support for the right to keep and bear arms, especially since Gervanter is a gun control activist who was running on a platform of adding even more “common sense gun safety regulations” to the statutes in Connecticut.
I haven’t spoken to Higbie since the election, so I don’t know if he ended up casting a vote for Fazio, but the Republican did end up defeating the activist in this week’s vote.
Almost completed returns showed Fazio edging Alexis Gevanter (D), a first-time candidate and gun control advocate, by just under 500 votes, 50.1 percent to 47.6 percent.
A third candidate, running as an independent, pulled 408 votes, or about 2.3 percent.
Fazio will join a Republican conference stuck in a deep minority in Hartford: Democrats hold 23 of 36 seats.
… Fazio’s “victory demonstrates that the people of Connecticut are sick and tired of the radical tax and spend agenda coming from Democrats in Hartford and in Washington, D.C.,” said Dee Duncan, who heads the Republican State Leadership Committee. “They’re looking for common-sense leaders who will champion conservative policies that will revive the economy, create jobs, reduce regulations, lower taxes and keep families safe.”
I’m glad to see the gun control lobby’s golden girl was defeated, but Higbie’s point about some Republicans taking gun owners and their votes for granted still stands. Even after the election was over the main talking point from the Republican State Leadership Committee was about the “radical tax and spend agenda” instead of the extreme anti-gun agenda held by Gervanter.
Over the past 18 months or so, Connecticut gun owners and those who’d like to become a gun owners have had to deal with things like Gov. Ned Lamont shutting down fingerprinting services for months on end and creating enormous delays for those applying for a gun license (which is required to simply own a firearm in the state), an “upgrade” to the state’s background check database that ended up halting the vast majority of gun sales for several weeks, and calls for more state and federal gun control from the Democrats who dominate the state’s political arena. These are important issues to Second Amendment supporters in the state, and it’s estimated about half of all Republican voters in Connecticut are gun owners. If the GOP isn’t speaking to these voters, they run the risk of the gun vote simply staying home or voting for a third party.
In this particular race, the fact that a committed gun control activist like Gervanter was running may have swayed some gun owners to show up at the polls; not necessarily to vote for the candidate who was largely silent on Second Amendment issues but to vote against the Moms Demand Action activist who was running on an anti-gun platform. That’s bad news for Bloomberg and company, because it suggests that a “gunsense candidate” on the ballot is going to motivate gun owners to turn out at the polls, but I’m concerned that the results of this special election may also lead some conservative campaign consultants to believe that it’s just not all that important to talk about 2A issues in a way that resonates with gun owners across the political spectrum. That would be a huge mistake, especially as we head into the 2022 midterms with a president and party intent on infringing on our right to keep and bear arms.