The Good Guys And The Bad Guys

The Minnesota Gun Owners Civil Rights Alliance has released its biennial Candidate Ratings list.

I don’t vote entirely based on this list – there are other issues – but suffice to say nobody with an “F” is going to get my vote, or any meaningful support, ever, no matter what.

The biggest surprise – Ron Erhard’s petulant outburst to a GOCRA volunteer.

Other than that?  It’s amazing what pro-Second-Amendment the outstate DFL is making.  The list is, by the way, rigorously non-partisan; there are not a few DFLers that out-score Republicans. 

Read the whole list, and vote accordingly.

One quick note:  I’m a GOCRA member, but I’m not involved in management.  And I have a small bone to pick with the group.  GOCRA’s grading system generally gives an “F” to candidates who don’t return the survey.  As a general rule, this applies to two types of candidates; those whose campaigns are so badly organized they just don’t return surveys, and quixotic campaigns – DFLers in safe GOP districts, and GOPers in safe DFL city districts where a GOCRA grade would only be beaten on by their DFL opponents (if they noticed them at all); there is likely a fair amount of overlap between the two

I get GOCRA’s stated reasoning – that candidates who don’t return the survey are usually anti-gun.  But there are quite a number of inner-city Republican candidates who I personally know are solid pro-Second-Amendment, but who didn’t return the survey; while I’m sure GOCRA wants more commitment, the F given for non-response is, I think, counterproductive; it peels away the residue of GOCRA-aligned voters in the inner city who see an “F” and think “he’s anti-gun!”.

It’s like cleaning your toaster with a baseball bat; it gets the point across, but maybe not in the most productive way possible…

That being said, I’m gratified to see more inner-city Republicans, at least on the Saint Paul side, returning the questionnaire.

UPDATE: And just to elaborate: my mild criticism of the grades for those who don’t return surveys lives about the margins of an effort that is an indispensable guide to the legislative landscape on this issue.   It’s a huge effort on GOCRA’s part, and one of the better guides to the legislative landscape you’ll find.

10 thoughts on “The Good Guys And The Bad Guys

  1. I noticed there were a number that were provisional but still graded above an F, quite a few in fact were in the A range. I’m guessing those that got the F was related to their stand(s) as much as not returning the questionnaire.

  2. Some explanation:

    If a candidate has no voting record, and they return a great survey, their grade is still (P)rovisional — talk is, after all, cheap.

    If a candidate has no voting record, and returns no survey, they get an F(P).

    If they have no voting record, and return a survey indicating their anti-rights views, they get a well-earned, non-provisional C, D or F, as warranted.

    Each House candidate got three or four emails, as well as a voice call, in most cases, reminding them to participate. Candidates who, amazingly, don’t have an email address, got a paper letter.

    Candidates who haven’t figured out that the gun vote matters, or that GOCRA grades have been an important indicator for 18 years, can be judged by voters on that basis.

    Voters are encouraged to contact no-answer candidates and urge them to submit a late entry.

  3. Scott, I believe that you are correct. Mitch may be praising GOCRA with faint damnation, however. And I suggest that the damnation is not factually based; but he also says he doesn’t know, even though I think we lay it out.
    The survey is a starting point, not the be-all and end-all; and it is supplemented by personal knowledge and other reliable information known or provided. For example, there are a few staunch supporters that know, based on their history, votes, and other public activities in support of Civil Rights/Gun Rights, that they don’t HAVE TO fill out a survey. And they don’t, because it is additional effort. They are not being gamblers, running a risk. Not arrogant, either; rather, confidently deserving by earned reputation based on actions, and putting their effort into more necessary and productive areas. OK, maybe a little lazy in not filling out the survey, which is arguably redundant, based on their efforts in getting the job done. They know who they are, and there aren’t all that many. Our survey is an opportunity to get out to the public what they believe. And we don’t let them hide their beliefs by not responding.
    There simply IS no partisan favoritism; never has been. Mitch saw that, didn’t he?
    Anybody can send out a questionnaire and have a computer algorithm tabulate the results. GOCRA does infinitely more than that, tells you about it, shows you the survey and answers, and invites discussion of any possible corrections, if there is a factual basis. We hide nothing. We are tough graders, with a skepticism born of 25+ years of experience. The only responses we don’t consider seriously are those which have as essential, emotional-only content, “You people are nothing but stupid, mean old poopy-pants!” GOCRA’s level of discussion and analysis is, shall we say, much higher than that. We don’t get into pissing contests. We don’t make stuff up, either.
    There is one heck of lot of effort that goes into the GOCRA grading. “You have no idea how much effort,” doesn’t even scratch the surface of describing the time, thought, analysis, discussion, debate, and contacts; literally hundreds of hours; and way more than that, if you consider time at the Capitol by three registered lobbyists, where they get to know the players up close and personal, watching what they do, not just what they say. Add ad hoc contacts with various City and County Administrators, Sheriffs, Police Chiefs, County Attorneys, City Attorneys, etc., in response to problems which may crop up from time to time, and you’re into the thousands. GOCRA is not just an Internet Entity; it’s boots on the ground.
    GOCRA takes it seriously, and our track record, our credibility earned over well more than 2 decades, with supporters and office holders and others, speaks for itself. GOCRA is often invited to “sit at the table” and to present its point of view, the view of grassroots Gun Owners and Civil Rights activists, as was done this year, by the House, in response to Ron Latz’s bill in the Senate. That’s not a “pro forma” hearing, a sufferance without really listening. That’s the real deal, meaningful presentation of requested input for real consideration and inclusion. And it’s all volunteer, supported by the Grassroots, guided by an unwavering belief in the Constitution and its truths, coupled with knowledge and experience and energy in “how it is done.”

  4. David and Andrew,

    Thanks for both of the explanations.

    My mild criticism of the grades for those who don’t return surveys are doodles around the margin of an effort that is an indispensable guide to the legislative landscape on this issue.

  5. As a urban Republican Candidate in a heavily DFL district in Minneapolis, I returned the survey and urged some of my fellow candidates to do the same. Unless you really don’t side with GOCRA on second amendment issues there is no reason to be shy about answering the survey if you are in a district like mine. It’s not like most voters will be on the fence until they heard I got an A from GOCRA. And the flip side is that in a district like mine, urban with plenty of crime and permit holders, there are bound to be folks who are quietly supportive of GOCRA’s aims and the 2nd amendment generally and who will appreciate knowing where I stand.

    I think there may have been some confusion with multiple gun groups all sending surveys. Also there were just a lot of surveys on all issues sent to candidates. I have answered 8 so far and each day’s mail seems to bring a new one. And most of them are not yes/no answers.

  6. Based on these ratings, my choice is a D+ Democrat versus an F Republican. Lovely.

    Of course, I live just East of Como Park so I’m used to it. Why do I still live there? Because, despite the many years of fabulous Obama recovery, the words “upside down” still have meaning in my neighborhood. The word Conservative does not.

    Be grateful, those of you with a meaningful choice. Use it wisely.

  7. Qustion for Andrew, have you or anyone from GOCRA contacted the local media about Ron Erhardt’s terroristic threat? How about local law enforcement?

    Seems this only seems to be brought to light in blogs such as this and social media.

    If this is genuine and verifiable, it should be plastered all over the news, of course following criminal charges brought against Rep Erhardt.

  8. Pingback: For Second Amendment Freedom | Shot in the Dark

  9. Regardless of the political aspect, such a comment goes well beyond using the “F” word.

    While I doubt that the situation would rise to a felony-level terroristic threat, such words should fall well within the “fighting words” requirement and would cause a certain amount of fear or concern in any logical person; if you were carrying a firearm (lawfully, of course) would such an exchange at least cause you to mentally prepare to use it? Some may even bring the gun to bear, if not actually aim it, and an equally unbalanced person may seize upon what they see as a change to put their carry permit to use. In short, such behavior is more than just rude, it’s potentially dangerous.

    Disorderly Conduct/ MSS 609.72 ( seems appropriate for the situation. Whether it would actually get charged out is unknown. However, it is not unreasonable for anyone, regardless of political affiliation, to make a police report on the encounter. At least it’s officially “on record” no matter how it turns out. People call the cops on a lot less …

  10. Down here in South Carolina, we don’t have an NRA score card. There’s a list of who is giving out ammo and where.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.