Under the Gun
A Second Amendment look at the elections.



House: All four of the state’s House districts have competitive races.

First district (northeast): Democratic incumbent Bruce Braley (D., F) vs. Ben Lange (R., AQ).

Second district (southeast): Democratic incumbent Dave Loebsack (D., F) versus former John Deere executive John Archer (R., AQ).

Third district (southwest): Two incumbents were placed together because Iowa lost a seat after the census. Both of them have solid records: Leonard Boswell (D., A) vs. Tom Latham (R., A).

Fourth district (northwest): Incumbent Steve King (R., A+) faces former Iowa first lady Christie Vilsack (D., n/a).


Voters will decide whether to ratify a constitutional amendment for the right to hunt and fish.

House, sixth district (Lexington): The NRA endorsement helped carry incumbent Ben Chandler (D., A) to a very narrow victory in 2010. This year he faces constitutional-law instructor Andy Barr (R., AQ).        


An amendment, which I wrote about previously, to significantly strengthen the state constitutional right to arms is on the ballot.


Senate: Retiring moderate Republican senator Olympia Snowe compiled a medium record on the gun issue, although she was always better than all of the Democratic candidates she defeated. In the three-way race for this open seat, former governor Angus King (Indep., n/a) faces Maine secretary of state Charlie Summers (R., A) and state senator Cynthia Dill (D., F). While King had a large lead in earlier polls, the race appears to be tightening.


Senate: Incumbent senator Ben Cardin (D., F) looks unbeatable by former Secret Service agent Dan Bongino (R., AQ).

House, sixth district (panhandle): The district of incumbent Roscoe Bartlett (R., A) was very severely redistricted, leaving him with an almost impossible fight against lawyer John Delaney (D., n/a).


Senate: Incumbent senator Scott Brown (R., C) has a very tight race with Harvard law professor Elizabeth Warren (D., F). Her hostile stance on gun rights is out of sync with her self-identification as an Indian.

House, sixth district (northeast): First elected in 1996, John Tierney (D., F) has a serious race with state-senate minority leader Richard Tisei (R., D).


Senate: Incumbent Democratic senator Debbie Stabenow’s F rating puts her out of touch with a state that has a strong hunting tradition, including among the many Democratic union members. In October, she has been widening her lead over former congressman Pete Hoekstra (R., A).

House, first district (Upper Peninsula): Long-serving representative Bart Stupak retired in 2010 after being duped into voting for Obamacare in exchange for what he later admitted to be non-functional restrictions on abortion funding. Tea-party favorite Dan Benishek (R., A+) won the seat, and is now challenged by state representative Gary McDowell (D., A).

House, third district (central): First-termer Justin Amash (R., B−) is touted as a strong advocate of conservative values, but he certainly is not on gun rights. Judge (and former state representative) Steve Pestka (D., A−) has the stronger record.

House, eleventh district (northern Detroit suburbs): In the wreckage of Thaddeus McCotter’s failure to file enough petition signatures to qualify for the ballot, the open seat pits the libertarian-leaning Kerry Bentivolio (R., AQ) against physician Syed Taj (D., n/a).


Incumbent senator Amy Klobuchar (Democratic-Farmer-Labor, F) has a big lead over state representative Kurt Bills (R., A).

House, second district (Twin Cities suburbs): Incumbent John Kline (R., A) versus Mike Obermueller (DFL, C).

House, sixth district (northern Minneapolis suburbs): The presidential campaign of Michele Bachmann (R., A) probably didn’t make her more popular in her district. Jim Graves (DFL, n/a) is a hotel businessman.

House, eighth district (Iron Range): First-termer Chip Cravaack (R., A) is a former military and airline pilot who has led the fight against the Obama administration’s attempt to destroy the armed-pilots program. Opponent Rick Nolan (DFL, F) is a former congressman.