Election Season is Officially Open

Forget the deer from the fall. Don’t think about turkeys yet. Right now, it’s the opening of political season. Of course, unlike our hunting seasons, it’s the politicians who are out hunting for votes, signatures, and donations.

In a crash course, here’s an overview of what to expect from politicians after your support this spring.

Those running for Governor will be on the prowl for at least 2,000 signatures to make it onto the May ballot. With contested primary races in both of the major parties, any gun owner who is registered with one will likely start hearing from candidates soon. Due to the statewide nature of the race, candidates are expected to get at least 100 signatures from at least 10 different counties to show at least minimal viability outside of one area.

In your Congressional districts, candidates will be looking for 1,000 signatures to get on the ballot in hopes of heading to Washington. In several districts, incumbents have multiple challengers from within their own party or those running on a different ticket. The latest Cook Political Report analysis of House seats shows 10 of 19 with varying degrees of competitiveness.

A little closer to home, those who want to move into the State Senate will set their sights on getting 500 signatures to appear on the ballot. For (mostly) political newcomers with an eye on State House seats, they need to bag at least 300 signatures. Expect all of these political hopefuls to be out in the field in search of their prey until March 9.

It’s important to start thinking about these campaigns as a voter and gun owner in Pennsylvania since several races may be determined during the primary election. Or, at the very least, gun owners may be able to influence a race so more than one candidate on the ballot come November is supportive of our rights.

For example, in two Democratic primary races in Northeast Pennsylvania, pro-gun legislators are being challenged by extremely anti-gun candidates within their party. If gun owners want to vote in those races, they must be registered with the party by April 19. If they want to volunteer for the campaigns most supportive of their rights, this is an important time to help out in the race.

Gun owners should also know about the unique process happening in a number of General Assembly races and in the 12th Congressional District. Due to vacancies, some races will have two elections on the same day – the election to fill the vacancy (considered a special election) and the primary to appear on the ballot for the same seat in November (the regularly scheduled primary). In these cases, officials are opting to have the special election on the same day as the primary in order to save the taxpayers money.

How candidates are selected for the special elections in these unique cases is up to the parties. We know that in the 12th Congressional District, the rules are as follows:
For Republicans, each county committee in the district will be assigned a certain number of conferees to send to the selection meeting. The conferees will vote to decide who becomes the party’s candidate.

For Democrats, the county committees in the 12th Districts will meet to recommend a candidate to the state party’s 50-member executive committee. The executive committee, comprising members from across Pennsylvania, will decide whether to endorse a candidate.
The choice from each of the parties for the special election will also likely have the full party backing for the primary election held the same day. For gun owners, the race generally looks good, but local voters may want to keep an eye on the unknowns looking to take the seat.

Now that you’re properly equipped and armed for the fresh 2010 election season, you may want to consider getting involved. As you can see from the information above, it’s a very fluid situation depending on the races in your area. Do some research, ask questions, or call local party leaders to find out more about what’s going on in your district.

This article, Election Season is Officially Open, is from the Pennsylvania Firearm Owners Association Blog & Online Magazine.

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