Congressman boasts of being targeted by D.C. voting rights protesters
A Mississippi congressman targeted by D.C. voting rights activists is actually touting the protests in his reelection campaign.
Members of D.C. Vote stood outside the Capitol South Metro station Thursday morning distributing fliers featuring an illustration of Rep. Travis Childers (D-Miss.) wearing a monocle and straw hat under the headline "Travis Childers for DC Mayor?"
"Childers is acting more like DC's mayor than a Congressman from Mississippi," the flier reads -- referring to his sponsorship of a law that would strip most city gun laws.
Childers, in response, issued a campaign news release noting that "members of the anti-Second Amendment group, DC Vote, handed out fliers and ran a newspaper ad in North Mississippi mocking the importance of Americans' right to bear arms, directly attacking Travis' record of protecting this constitutional right."
There's one problem: D.C. Vote's not an anti-Second Amendment group, and the protest materials -- including print and Web ads running in Childers' Mississippi district -- never mention guns, just that he "can't keep his hands off DC's local laws."
But Childers, locked in a tough reelection battle with state Sen. Alan Nunnelee (R) -- sees value in painting the protest as yet another front in the battle over gun control.
"This latest tussle over Second Amendment rights is another example that when the pressure is on, Travis stands up for North Mississippi and doesn't back down," the release said.
Childers is widely regarded as one of the most conservative Democrats in the House. On Monday, he accepted the endorsement of the National Rifle Association while "[s]tanding beside two hunting rifles and a shotgun on the DeSoto County Courthouse lawn," according to an account in the Memphis Commercial Appeal.
D.C. Vote protested Childers as part of a new willingness to target congressional Democrats who have supported obstacles to a bill that would allow the District to have a vote in the House. Last month, activists targeted Sen. Jon Tester (D-Mont.) with a "pray-in" at his office.
"I think this is no more Mr. Nice Guy," D.C. Vote Executive Director Ilir Zherka told me this month. "I think the political calculus that people have had up to now is that they could hit the city in almost any way, and they would pay no price whatsoever. We have to change that calculus. ... We have to exact some price."
They still have some work to do.
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