Selected Articles from our
The C.A.S.H. Courier
ARTICLE from the Fall 2008 Issue
Obama Victory Vastly Reduced NRA Influence
By Peter Muller
The Obama campaign and victory has had a decisively negative effect
on the NRA’s political influence and that of its affiliate
organizations. The NRA actually consists of three separately
1) The “NRA Foundation” is an educational 501 (c) (3) tax-exempt
2) The NRA-ILA, the “NRA Institute for Legislative Action” is a
3) The NRA-PVF – the “NRA-Political Victory Fund” is a PAC, a
Political Action Committee.
When we use the term “NRA” in this article we are referring to the
NRA-ILA and/or the NRA-PVF, rather than the educational branch of the
NRA, which imparts its brand of wisdom to the public, and to
organizations such as the Boy-Scouts and 4-H clubs. Keep in mind that
all of this “education” is funded by tax-deductible donations, and,
therefore, demands scrutiny. We will take a look at that in the next
issue of the C.A.S.H. Courier.
On the NRA’s website (http://www.nraila.org/) they say the 2008
elections are over, and America has spoken. While many of the results
were not what we had hoped for, this year’s election does show how NRA
members have truly changed politics in America.
Across the country, from the presidential race, to the U.S. Senate
and House, to state legislative races, one thing was missing this year:
ads proudly proclaiming the candidates’ anti-gun credentials.
Clearly, the NRA is boasting, claiming a victory because candidates
did not explicitly take an anti-gun stance in their campaigns. C.A.S.H.
looked at how this really played out in the most recent six presidential
campaigns and the hotly contested Democratic Primary of 2008.
What is apparent from the chart is that taking an explicit position
against Gun Control is no assurance of winning – far from it. In the
above six contests, all losers took an explicit position against gun
control. The lesson for future presidential candidates should be clear:
Do not take an anti-gun control position – the NRA can’t deliver its
votes to you and never has been able to do so!
Nevertheless, the NRA claimed successes. They wrote:
In the 2004 elections, more NRA resources were deployed in more
critical battles than ever before. Millions of dollars were spent on
direct campaign donations, independent campaign expenditures, and on
mobilizing the most aggressive grassroots operation in NRA history.
There were 6.5 million endorsement cards and letters sent, 2.4 million
endorsement phone calls, 1.6 million bumper stickers, nearly 50,000
television, radio and newspaper ads and 510 billboards.
In 2004, NRA-PVF was involved in 265 campaigns for the U.S. House and
Senate, winning in 254 of those races. These victories represent the
reelection of pro-gun majorities in both the U.S. House and Senate.
NRA-PVF endorsed thousands of candidates running in state legislative
races and achieved an 86% success rate in those elections.
Looking closely, almost all of the NRA’s endorsements are of
incumbents who, generally speaking, win almost all local contests
regardless of endorsements. The NRA’s endorsement help cannot,
therefore, be ascertained.
For example, in the 2008 election for the 29 congressional seats in
New York State, the NRA made five endorsements. All but four of the 29
incumbents ran again for their seats. Of the 25 incumbents who ran for
their seats 24 won their seats for another term. The only incumbent to
lose was Randy Kuhl of the 27th District who was one of the five
candidates endorsed by the NRA.
In the 26th District the incumbent did not run but the candidate from
the same party as the incumbent (Republican) won the seat in a district
that is heavily Republican. He also had the NRA endorsement – but it’s
hard to see how that helped since the district usually votes for the
The other three candidates endorsed by the NRA were among the 24
incumbents who ran and won their seats back.
What did the NRA endorsement do? Most likely nothing and it may have
cost Representative Kuhl his seat.
To see if the endorsements can be said to have made a difference
anywhere we will do a follow-up article when the Boards of Elections
have posted their results. At the present time, many outcomes have not
C.A.S.H. will look at the NRA endorsements and the success-rate of 1)
all incumbents 2) incumbents with NRA endorsements and 3) non-incumbents
with NRA endorsements.
Barak Obama has consistently assured people he would not break into
their homes and seize their rifles; he also consistently proposed
reasonable controls on sales of firearms and ammunition. Yet, if you
apply for a job in the Obama administration, you will have to fill out a
probing 63-question questionnaire, and declare all of your foibles that
may become a future embarrassment to the administration.
We took clear note of question 59: (59) Do you or any members of your
immediate family own a gun? If so, provide complete ownership and
registration information. Has the registration ever lapsed? Please also
describe how and by whom it is used and whether it has been the cause of
any personal injuries or property damage.
President-elect Obama’s concern about gun-ownership is there — right
along with such questions as “Have you ever been convicted of a felony?”
and “Were you ever caught trying to pick up 14 year-olds on the
As most people have already surmised, we are entering a new era where
the putative political NRA influence is gone. Legislators will be able
to judge issues on their merits and the needs and wants of their
constituents. The self-proclaimed electoral power of the NRA has been
shown to be a sham.
Peter Muller is a Vice President of C.A.S.H. and President of LOHV –
the League of Humane Voters