Last month, I wrote a feature article about the off-year elections in five states: Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, New Jersey and Virginia. This month, I’m dedicating my column to the same topic. That’s just how important these elections are.
You see, when voters cast their ballots in these five states next month, it may not seem like there are broad, national implications involved, but there are. How the pro-Second Amendment community fares after all the votes are tallied in just one-tenth of our United States may help set the course not only for upcoming legislative efforts in those states, but also for legislative efforts in Congress.
The results could also help set the tone for next year’s elections in other states, as well as on the national stage.
While Kentucky, Louisiana, and Mississippi are likely to remain relatively safe states for the Second Amendment and New Jersey likely to remain hostile, the big question will be how law-abiding gun owners fare in Virginia.
As I mentioned last month, the Old Dominion’s legislature is divided, with Democrats holding a narrow majority in the Senate, and Republicans a similarly narrow majority in the House of Delegates. Republicans, headed by Gov. Glenn Youngkin, hold the major statewide offices, which Democrats held prior to the 2021 statewide elections. Virginia, over the last few decades, has been swinging back and forth from leaning Republican to leaning Democrat, and is as reliably “purple” as any state.
This means that narrow margins tend to be the difference between victory and defeat on Election Day, so Virginia’s pro-gun community has an outstanding chance at affecting the outcome of many races. If pro-Second Amendment voters work together to support the candidates who support the rights of law-abiding gun owners in Virginia, we could easily see solid pro-gun majorities in both the Senate and House of Delegates.
Not only would that mean stopping anti-gun legislation in its tracks, but we could also see the repeal of anti-gun laws enacted under former Gov. Ralph Northam (D), who was able to push a radical anti-gun agenda in 2020 when there were anti-gun majorities controlling both chambers of the Virginia General Assembly.
These off-year elections are often used by political pundits to try to forecast trends for the following year’s elections on a national level. Swing states like Virginia can often be far better indicators of the mood of the electorate than reliably “red” or “blue” states, and a clear victory for Second Amendment supporters here, where NRA Headquarters is located, could not only lead to legislative success next year in the legislature, but could help build momentum for victory on Election Day 2024, when far more will be at stake.
This includes, of course, the White House.
Although Virginia may be looked at as more of a bellwether state among the off-year states, NRA members still have an opportunity to have a positive impact on the other four states.
In Kentucky, Daniel Cameron, current attorney general and Republican nominee for governor, is a proven supporter of the Second Amendment, and has earned the endorsement of the NRA-PVF. Russell Coleman is the Republican nominee seeking to replace Cameron as attorney general, and he also has committed to preserving the rights of law-abiding gun owners, and earned an NRA-PVF endorsement.
Louisiana voters will see an opportunity to elect a governor who will actually sign constitutional carry into law, as opposed to the term-limited current governor, John Bel Edwards (D), who vetoed that legislation when it was placed on his desk. Current Louisiana attorney general Jeff Landry (R) is running to succeed Edwards, and he has proven himself a staunch defender of our right to keep and bear arms, earning his NRA-PVF endorsement. There is no doubt he would sign constitutional carry if elected governor.
Current Mississippi Gov. Tate Reeves (R) is running for re-election, and has repeatedly shown that he can be counted on to defend the Second Amendment. He is also NRA-PVF endorsed.
And although New Jersey is clearly a difficult state for those who cherish freedom, there are clear opportunities for the pro-gun community to begin the process of turning that anti-gun tide.
I don’t have the space to cover all the races at play, but readers of this magazine in the states where elections will be held will receive that information. Many have also likely received our famous hunter-orange postcards announcing endorsements, or will soon, along with additional information informed voters who cherish the Second Amendment will need when they are ready to cast their ballots. You can also find this information online, at nrapvf.org or simply scan the QR code on the cover of this magazine.
Please be sure to use our information, and share it with like-minded voters, when it is time to vote. Remember, your vote is your voice, so make sure it is heard loud and clear!