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ISRA enters CD2 race

Thursday, Feb 21, 2013

* I’ve been thinking that it was a pretty smart move by the NRA not to get involved in the 2nd Congressional District on behalf of Debbie Halvorson.

Why? Well, the group has been assiduously courting African-American state legislators to vote for a concealed carry bill. Helping nominate a white Democrat in a black-majority congressional district might not go down too well with the Legislative Black Caucus, after all.

Besides, Mayor Bloomberg’s millions of dollars worth of TV ads have made it pretty clear that Halvorson is pro-gun. He’s educating the NRA’s base without the NRA spending any money.

* But the Illinois State Rifle Association has decided to jump into the race at the last minute

“Just because I want to have an honest discussion of how we deal with the entire culture of violence, I’m being attacked,” added Ms. Halvorson, who does support universal background checks for gun buyers. “To ban one more firearm, all that’s going to do is harm the law-abiding citizen.”

Forced into an awkward spot between not feeding the fire against her and keeping Second Amendment-supporting voters engaged, Ms. Halvorson has said that she has not sought support from any gun groups in this election, despite holding steadfast on her positions.

Still, the Illinois State Rifle Association started fighting back on her behalf on Wednesday, sending out a direct mailer to thousands of its members living in the district asking them to vote for Ms. Halvorson, according to Richard A. Pearson, the association’s executive director.

“We can’t let that go unanswered,” he said of the advertising campaign against her. His group had planned to endorse Ms. Halvorson in a news release on Thursday, but decided not to at the last minute, Mr. Pearson said, though he would not explain why.


* Related…

* Kelly defends against ethics allegations in Jackson Jr. race

* Gun debate is changing the Democratic Party

- Posted by Rich Miller        

  1. - wordslinger - Thursday, Feb 21, 13 @ 2:01 pm:

    Rich, you’re reasoning about the silence makes a lot of sense.

    Still, at some point, I think the ISRA had to put some money into it. Other legislators were watching Halvorson get pounded with no response.

    When you carry the water for your friends, you expect a little help when you’re under attack.

    Going forward, does the gun lobby have a sugar-daddy to compete with Bloomberg in the next cycle? Compared to what the NRA has been spending, Bloomberg could swamp them out of his checking account.

  2. - reformer - Thursday, Feb 21, 13 @ 2:02 pm:

    It’s just as kosher for the ISRA to get involved as it is for Mayor Bloomberg. I doubt their involvement will hurt Halvorson any more than the Bloomberg attack ads. On the other hand, the ISRA might prod their members into taking a Democratic ballot to vote for the only congressman they’ll ever have in the 2nd CD who thinks like them on gun issues.

  3. - wndycty - Thursday, Feb 21, 13 @ 2:17 pm:

    Why did the ISRA plan to endorse Debbie then decided not to. Is the ISRA/Debbie relationship collaborating the same way she accused Robin/Bloomberg of?

  4. - Precinct Captain - Thursday, Feb 21, 13 @ 2:17 pm:

    The ISRA seems to be doing more campaigning in the district for Halvorson than she does. The other day she was on WDWS radio in Champaign with her and the hosts admitting there was no purpose for her to actually be on.

  5. - Boone Logan Square - Thursday, Feb 21, 13 @ 2:19 pm:

    I imagine Robin Kelly welcomes the IRSA’s involvement.

  6. - walkinfool - Thursday, Feb 21, 13 @ 2:20 pm:

    The ISRA are political goofs, compared to the Illinois NRA reps.

    Still, asking your own members to get to the polls is not even close to mass attack advertising.

  7. - Old Shepherd - Thursday, Feb 21, 13 @ 2:31 pm:

    Congressman Ken Gray tells people that he can be “for ‘em or agin ‘em, whichever helps the most.”

  8. - Ahoy! - Thursday, Feb 21, 13 @ 2:35 pm:

    I thought the NRA not getting involved was a sign that they thought it would be a loosing battle, which it’s better not to play than play and loose.

  9. - Endangered Moderate Species - Thursday, Feb 21, 13 @ 2:48 pm:

    -The ISRA are political goofs, compared to the Illinois NRA reps.-

    Fool- Help me out. Who is the ISRA and who is the Illinois NRA reps.? You have confused me.

  10. - titan - Thursday, Feb 21, 13 @ 3:05 pm:

    @reformer - Given that the ISRA is an Illinois organization, it is probably more appropriate for them to be in this one than New York Mayor Bloomberg. That would make it ‘kosherer’ wouldn’t it?

  11. - wordslinger - Thursday, Feb 21, 13 @ 3:09 pm:

    –Given that the ISRA is an Illinois organization, it is probably more appropriate for them to be in this one than New York Mayor Bloomberg. That would make it ‘kosherer’ wouldn’t it?–


    I think I get it.

    He’s a Jew, right? He has to be, he’s from New York.

    Almost went over my head. Don’t be so subtle next time.

  12. - titan - Thursday, Feb 21, 13 @ 3:25 pm:

    @wordslinger - I was just riffing off of reformer’s “It’s just as kosher for the ISRA to get involved as it is for Mayor Bloomberg” line.

  13. - Robert the Bruce - Thursday, Feb 21, 13 @ 3:55 pm:

    Seems to me that sitting this one out could have been wise as Rich suggests.

    Or going all in early for Halverson, hiding their identity behind another non-profit who then gives to a superpac, and going big, could have been a good move as well.

    Going partially in, late in the game, without hiding what they’re doing (where the money is coming from) seems like the worst strategy.

  14. - Esquire - Thursday, Feb 21, 13 @ 4:00 pm:

    The link to the article about the “Gun Debate Changing the Democratic Party” is interesting reading.

    When Rahm Emanuel was still in Congress and raising funds and recruiting the candidates for the HDCC who helped the Democrats recapture the US House in 2006, he was willing to choose some Democrats who were more right of center and in some cases pro-gun. A few years ago, Emanuel was recruiting Congressional candidates like Debbie Halvorson. His position has changed.

    It has been stated that George W. Bush prevailed in 2000 and 2004, in part, because Gore and Kerry were perceived as too hostile to gun owners. Kerry tried to purchase a hunting license in 2004 as a publicity stunt to try to reassure gun owners, but the tactic did not gain him too many points.

    Obama walked a tightrope on guns as compared to some other recent Democratic candidates in 2008 (Hillary Clinton made him pay for his private comments on guns to big donors in a few primaries) but the current posture of the Democrats may result in ceding the advantage to the generic Republican candidates on Second Amendment topics.

  15. - Esquire - Thursday, Feb 21, 13 @ 4:04 pm:

    The ISRA has, however, been doing a capable job in litigation. The McDonald case that reached the US Supreme Court began as an ISRA and Second Amendment Foundation project. The NRA was a late entrant into the case.

  16. - Rod - Thursday, Feb 21, 13 @ 5:50 pm:

    The NRA in Wisconsin put big money behind Governor Walker. I don’t see that kind of support for Halvorson, it would have been a good move to take on the Bloomberg attack ads. Clearly well done ads attacking the Bloomberg pac funded attack ads would be welcomed by many NRA members after the beating that has been issued in this campaign.

  17. - wordslinger - Thursday, Feb 21, 13 @ 6:22 pm:

    –When Rahm Emanuel was still in Congress and raising funds and recruiting the candidates for the HDCC who helped the Democrats recapture the US House in 2006, he was willing to choose some Democrats who were more right of center and in some cases pro-gun. A few years ago, Emanuel was recruiting Congressional candidates like Debbie Halvorson. His position has changed.–


    There were other options in this race.

    Not that Rahm means anything in this one.

  18. - Just The Way It Is One - Thursday, Feb 21, 13 @ 6:49 pm:

    Every bit helps and the ISRA mailing that’ll now be targeting THOUsands of gun-rights’ supporters could become a major development in this race and maybe even provide the former Congresswoman the extra nudge she needs to get over the top–because as I’ve posted many times, the nightly TV beating she receives may now actually be turned around in her favor! Couple that with a strong, grassroots “get out the vote” drive, and Ms. Halvorson could yet find herself boarding a plane back to D.C.–but at this point, with all the support thrown behind Ms. Kelly, it’d almost be a shocker!

  19. - Esquire - Thursday, Feb 21, 13 @ 8:51 pm:


    Quite civil of you to respond with such erudition.

    BTW a few local media outlets have suggested that Emanuel may have talked with Bloomberg (Emanuel had to deflect questions on that while speaking to the press) and has been quietly pulling for Kelly.

Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.

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