Garden State gun party: More bucks = more bang
Steve Lonegan, the outspoken Republican squaring off against Newark Mayor Cory Booker for New Jersey's special Senate election, is hoping the specter of gun control will be equally effective in scaring up some cash in the Garden State.
Lonegan, the former mayor of Bogota, N.J., and two-time gubernatorial candidate, next month will attend a "Fundraiser Shooting Event" in his honor at the South Jersey Shooting Club, hosted by the New Jersey Second Amendment Society.
As opposed to a more run-of-the-mill congressional fundraiser, the event offers contributors a clear --and immediate -- return on investment. Instead of tying contribution levels to cheesy titles like 'Friend' or 'Platinum Level Sponsor,' Lonegan is literally providing a bigger bang for bigger bucks: The amount donors give directly corresponds to the amount of firepower they'll get your hands on at the firing range.
Instead of fish or steak, attendees have the option to choose from rifles or pistols. For $40, a contributor gets to blast five rounds from a Desert Eagle 50, or 20 rounds from an AR15. Guests also have the option of paying $50 for the chance to take one of the event's two "mystery rifles" for a spin.
For those with deep pockets, throwing down $125 will buy five shots from the "Barret M107 .50BMG."
Only time will tell if the national Second Amendment crowd will rally to Lonegan's aid. The Republican faces an uphill battle in the Oct. 16 election. But his funder reflects a continuing trend.
Months after a bill mandating universal background checks on gun sales died in the U.S. Senate, candidates from both sides of the spectrum have found that the issue of gun control still generates plenty of enthusiasm -- and cash.
Witness recent fundraising efforts around the recall election of two Colorado state senators, whose tenures have been thrown into question after a successful petition --backed by guns rights groups -- forces a fresh vote for their seats on Sept. 10.
Angela Giron, D-Puebl0, and Senate President John Morse, D-Colorado Springs, drew the ire of Second Amendment backers over their support of stricter gun control legislation for the Centennial State. Morse's "Sickness In Our Soul" speech to the upper chamber is credited with igniting the maelstrom of gun-group indignation. Former Colorado Springs councilman Bernie Herpin will be challenging Morse for his seat, while Giron faces a showdown with former Pueblo Deputy Police Chief George Rivera.
The recalls have become a sort of proxy fight for national players on both sides of the guns issue. New York senator and Democratic heavyweight Kirsten Gillibrand, D-N.Y., released an e-mail asking for contributions on the incumbents' behalf, while conservative commentator Michelle Malkin recently took a trip out west to party with Herpin.
Of course, no battle over gun rights would be complete without the seemingly omnipresent Michael Bloomberg -- of Mayors Against Illegal Guns fame -- entering the fray. According to a report by Channel 7 News of Denver, the New York City mayor and business magnate has contributed $350,000 to a group supporting Giron and Morse, while the NRA has spent $108,600 on the endeavor.
(Photo Credit - Flickr user Jenn Durfey)