Updated: Moran Scores an Unusual Endorsement
The folks at OpenCarry.org, a gun rights group, have done something we never would have expected: They endorsed Brian Moran in the Democratic primary for governor.
Moran, a former delegate from Alexandria who has a lengthy record of gun control votes, had no idea he was getting the endorsement -- or even why. As you might imagine, an endorsement from a gun rights group is not exactly what a candidate is looking for in a Democratic primary -- especially one who is trying to appeal to the most liberal voters.
So why did OpenCarry.org pick Moran, especially over state Sen. Creigh Deeds, who is well known for his gun rights votes and his NRA endorsement in 2005?
The group's Mike Stollenwerk says they don't trust Deeds anymore because he has changed his views on gun issues over the last couple years.
He said voters "need to send a message to Virginia politicians like Deeds...that caving in on gun rights principles to run for state office will not be tolerated."
After previously voting against closing the so-called gunshow loophole, Deeds supported the proposal, though with amendments that weakened the bill.
"Creigh's proud of his record of building consensus on the gunshow loophole,'' said Brooke Borkenhagen, Deeds spokeswoman. "Creigh partnered with Governor Kaine and Henry Marsh to write the compromise that got the gunshow loophole out of committee for the first time. When he's governor, Creigh will close the gunshow loophole."
Moran has criticized Deeds several times in recent days for his votes on gun control.
"Brian Moran has always supported common sense gun measures,'' said Jesse Ferguson, Moran's spokesman. "It is only Senator Deeds who has supported expanding guns into bars, guns for stalkers, guns in schools, and plans to allow the purchase of more than one gun a month."
So what about the third Democrat, Terry McAuliffe?
The group calls McAuliffe "a man who is backed heavily by out of state money and interests and probably does not even know where the General Assembly Building is in Richmond."
McAuliffe's spokeswoman Lis Smith said: "As this group highlights, unlike his opponents, Terry comes from outside Richmond. Virginians are looking for a governor like Mark Warner and Tim Kaine, governors who came from business and executive backgrounds and had not been part of the partisan battles in the General Assembly."
OpenCarry.org is well aware most of its 17,000 members are Republicans. But they are still encoraging non-Democrats to vote in Tuesday's open primary.
"That's right, with a three-way race split down the middle, it will only take few thousand non-Democrats to decide which of the Democratic party candidates will face Bob McDonnell in the fall election for governor,'' the group's email says.
June 4, 2009; 12:45 PM ET
Categories: 2009 Governor's Race , Anita Kumar , Brian J. Moran , Creigh Deeds , Election 2009 , Terry McAuliffe
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