June 8th, 2012
Hats off to South Dakota Gun Owners members and supporters! Thanks to your support, SDGO’s Political Action Committee won stunning victories this Tuesday against the leaders of the anti-gun crowd in Pierre. Along with our ally, the National Association for Gun Rights, SDGO PAC sent tens of thousands mail pieces and made tens of thousands of phone calls in 10 targeted races.
On Tuesday, we won 9 out of the 10, including the crushing defeat of the two most anti-gun politicians in South Dakota. Speaker of the House Val Rausch had used his position to push a radical anti-gun agenda, killing the Constitutional Carry bill earlier this year. He also pushed legislation for sweeping city-level gun bans several years in a row and voted to blacklist gun owners in a database similar to the sex offender registry. SDGO PAC mounted a full campaign against Rausch for his voting record. This week he lost to pro-gun Senator Tim Begalka, 34-66.
Rep. Gene Abdallah had sponsored virtually every anti-gun bill to be introduced during his career. He frequently boasted that he gained more votes every time he poked gun owners in the eye. Thanks in large part to SDGO PAC’s accountability campaign, Abdallah went down to defeat, 60-40. He will be replaced by staunch pro-gun candidate Ernie Otten, who also ran an outstanding campaign.
Both Rausch and Abdallah claimed NRA “A” ratings, and the institutional gun lobby sent out two mailings endorsing Abdallah. In the end it was not enough to hide their abominable voting records.
In the other 7 races mentioned above, pro-gun champions Rep. Lance Russell and Rep. Stace Nelson won re-election by comfortable margins, and pro-gun Representatives Phil Jensen and Jeff Monroe won tough races for the Senate. All four earned “A+” ratings from South Dakota Gun Owners and the National Association for Gun Rights, as did Otten and Begalka.
Anti-gun Rep. Mark Willadsen and Sen. Tom Nelson both suffered crushing defeats after earning “F” ratings from SDGO and NAGR, and former Mayor Dave Munson lost his bid for the State House after the National Association For Gun Rights Political Action Committee published his record as a member of “Mayors Against Guns,” billionaire-playboy Mike Bloomberg’s personal anti-gun cadre.
In the weeks before the Election, Governor Dennis Daugaard made an unprecedented move to endorse left-leaning Republicans against conservatives. He widely published his support for Rep. Val Rausch, Sen. Tom Nelson and former Rep. Mike Buckingham, who unsuccessfully ran against pro-gun Rep. Phil Jensen for the Senate. All three of the Governor’s choices were soundly defeated after South Dakota Gun Owners and the National Association for Gun Rights widely exposed his betrayal of the conservative Republican position he claims to represent. Earlier this year, Daugaard killed a limp-wristed version of the Constitutional Carry bill, stating it was TOO PRO-GUN! Then he proceeded to endorse the politicians who helped water the bill down before it could reach his desk. These are hardly the actions of a “pro-gun” governor.
Congratulations once again. Thanks to the 7000 members of SDGO and NAGR in South Dakota, gun owners have won a clean sweep and have demonstrated more clearly than ever before that supporting gun control comes with a high political price tag.
Ray Lautenschlager, Executive DirectorI'm not at all unhappy to see Val Rausch and Gene Abdallah go. Both were idiots on cannabis policy, which makes them idiots in general. I think Tom Nelson is a reasonable fellow, and really too nice a guy to be in politics anyway. He didn't have much expertise except in promoting laws to benefit him and his Deadwood gambling den friends.
Lance Russell is a dickhead. Stace Nelson certainly is, also, on womens' rights, but I did enjoy his gunpowder-in-the-firebox approach to the last legislative session. Val Rausch was a casualty, in part, of the confrontation between him and Nelson.
My curiosity at this self-congratulatory letter extends to how much, if any, did SDGO's support for opponents to its targets contribute to the defeat of said targets. SDGO limits itself to advocacy of candidates and legislation for far less limits on firearms ownership than now exists. Its choices for candidates also usually support harsher controls on abortion and an in-general 6000-yr-old-earth approach to issues.
I support SDGO. I know the principals and they have supported cannabis-user-friendly issues on personal levels. I send them a little money from time to time. I will tomorrow. Just 'cuz.