Under the Gun
A Second Amendment look at the elections.


Rhode Island

Hard-working senator Sheldon Whitehouse (D., F) is an especially powerful anti-gun leader in the Senate, because he is among the minority of senators who take the time to learn the details of the issues they vote on. His opponent is Barry Hinckley (R., AQ), a direct descendant of Colonel James Barrett, who commanded the Concord militia on April 19, 1775, eventually forcing the British to begin a hasty retreat towards Boston.

House, first district (Providence): Former Providence mayor David Cicilline (D., F) moved to Congress in 2010, just before his financial shenanigans with the Providence budget began to come to light. Taxpayers will have the opportunity to get even with Cicilline by electing state policeman Brendan Doherty (R., B).


Senate: Incumbent Bob Corker (R., A) is not expected to face a serious challenge from insurance executive Mark Clayton (D., n/a).

House, fourth district (south and central): Another Obamacare baby, Scott Desjarlais (R., A) is challenged by Eric Stewart (D., A).  


Senate: Retiring senator Kay Bailey Hutchison (R.) was often a pro-gun leader in Congress, as when she took charge of rounding up senators to sign Stephen Halbrook’s Supreme Court amicus brief in the Heller case. Republican nominee Ted Cruz (R., A+) is the solicitor general of Texas, and in that capacity, convinced three-quarters of the state attorneys general to sign his amicus briefs in D.C. v. Heller and McDonald v. Chicago. I’ve known Ted for many years, and he has a long record of outstanding legal work on behalf of the Second Amendment. The combination of his very high intelligence and his strong commitment to the issue will make him the best senator possible from a Second Amendment standpoint. His opponent is former state representative Paul Sadler (D., C−).

House, 14th district (Galveston). A portion of retiring representative Ron Paul’s district will now be represented by this seat. State representative Randy Weber (R., A) vies with former congressman Nick Lampson (D., A).

House, 23rd district (panhandle): Incumbent Francisco “Quico” Canseco (R., A) versus state representative Pete Gallego (D., A-).


Governor: Governor Gary R. Herbert (R., A+) has a huge lead over Peter Cooke (D., n/a).

Senator: Orrin Hatch (R., A+) set a Utah record by winning a sixth term in 2006, and he appears poised to break that record, defeating state-senate minority leader Scott Howell (D., D).    

House, fourth district (western Salt Lake City): As the only Democrat in the state’s congressional delegation, Jim Matheson (D., A) is a Blue Dog who often votes against the Pelosi agenda. His opponent, Mia Love (R., AQ), would be the first black female Mormon Republican in Congress, and she has attracted plenty of national support. The latest poll shows her with a slight lead.


Governor: Incumbent governor Peter Shumlin (D., A) is challenged by Randy Brock (R., A).

Senate: Incumbent senator Bernie Sanders (Independent, Socialist, D−) faces John MacGovern (R., A), who is president of the Hanover Institute, which fights the Dartmouth College administration’s efforts to impose political correctness and to squeeze out alumni dissidents from Dartmouth’s governing board.


Senate: Retiring one-term senator Jim Webb was strongly pro-gun. Two former governors, George Allen (R., A; ousted from the Senate by Webb in 2006) and Tim Kaine (D., F) are fighting a very close contest.

House, second district (Virginia Beach): Incumbent Scott Rigell (R., A−) against investment adviser Paul Hirschbiel (D., D).       


Governor: The enactment of pro-rights reform legislation in Washington has long been hampered by anti-gun governors. This year offers the possibility of change, with a tight race for an open seat between state attorney general Rob McKenna (R., B+) and Representative Jay Inslee (D., F).      

Senate: Three-term incumbent senator Maria Cantwell (D., F) has a solid lead over state senator Michael Baumgartner (R., A).

House, first district (Seattle north suburbs): Inslee’s run for governor creates an opening in this district. When John Koster (R., A) was in the state legislature, he organized the Washington State Conservative Caucus. His opponent is high-tech executive Suzan DelBene (D., n/a).

West Virginia

Governor: Incumbent governor Earl Ray Tomblin (D., A+) versus Bill Maloney (R., AQ).

Senate: Senator Joe Manchin (D., A) is expected to easily defeat John Raese (R., AQ).

House, third district (south): Nick Rahall (D., A), who is the ranking majority member of the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, is challenged by businessman Rick Snuffer (R., A).    


Senate: Retiring senator Herb Kohl, ever since his election in 1988, was one of the Senate’s consistent anti-gun leaders. Former governor Tommy Thompson (R., A) and Representative Tammy Baldwin (D., F) are essentially tied in the polls. Wisconsin is one of the most important Senate races for gun owners this year.

House, seventh district (northwest): Representative Sean Duffy (R., A) vs. former state senator Pat Kreitlow (D., C+).

House, eighth district (northeast): First-termer Reid Ribble (R., A) versus businessman Jamie Wall (D., AQ).


Senate: Incumbent senator John Barrasso (R., A) should handily defeat Tim Chesnut (D., F).         

— Dave Kopel is research director of the Independence Institute, in Denver, and an adjunct professor of constitutional law at Denver University, Sturm College of Law.