The National Rifle Association has downgraded its rating of GOP Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan and declined to endorse him for another term after he signed a raft of new gun control legislation, The Baltimore Sun reported.
“Jennifer Baker, a spokeswoman for the NRA, said the organization now rates Hogan a ‘C’ grade on protecting the rights of gun owners,” the Sun reported.
“Four years ago, it rated Hogan as an ‘A-.’
“Baker added that the NRA will not be endorsing Hogan this election as it did during his successful run for governor in 2014.
“Baker said she couldn’t elaborate on what specifically caused NRA leadership to change its view of Hogan. But Hogan has signed into law several gun control bills, including ‘red flag’ legislation meant to empower law enforcement or relatives to petition a judge to remove firearms from a person deemed dangerous.”
Hogan isn’t the only GOP governor to sign a “red flag” bill — which essentially takes away due process for gun owners if someone, somewhere in the law enforcement hierarchy can deem them a threat — but he is the only one up for re-election this year.
This news is definitely going to have an impact on that.
The National Rifle Association has downgraded Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan's ranking and is refusing to endorse him. https://t.co/dmdpRv8tYX
— NBCWashington (@nbcwashington) September 23, 2018
Hogan’s campaign spokesman, Doug Mayer, maintains Hogan is still a strong supporter of the Second Amendment.
“The governor’s position on guns will never change. He wants to make it harder for criminals and the mentally ill to get access to them,” Mayer told the Sun.
“He will continue to pursue policies that work to achieve those goals.”
However, Hogan had apparently resigned himself to the fact that he probably wasn’t going to get the NRA’s endorsement back in the summer.
“He told them he wasn’t expecting it and didn’t want it,” Hogan spokeswoman Amelia Chasse said in July, according to The Hill. “He doesn’t think the NRA are big fans of his at the moment.”
On one hand, it’s easy to have some sympathy for Hogan on this. He’s a Republican governor in a state bluer than a Yankees cap. A Democrat governor would have signed the same bill and even more. Hogan has managed to do a relatively good job checking the most mephitic tendencies of Maryland’s overwhelmingly leftist legislature.
However, Hogan also wasn’t in much jeopardy of losing the governor’s mansion when he signed the gun control legislation. With sky-high approval ratings and a nearly 17-point lead in the RealClearPolitics polling average, Hogan had an excellent chance to take a stand for the Second Amendment and the constitutional right of due process for Marylanders who own guns — about 20 percent of the population, according to the Sun.
There’s always a fine balance between necessary accommodations to get conservatives elected in liberal states and accommodating so much that a so-called conservative becomes little more than a diluted liberal.
Former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie is the object lesson here. In eight years in office in the Garden State, he went from being the GOP’s next big thing and the supposed exemplar of how conservatives could make inroads in blue states to basically a liberal whose sole “conservative” virtue is that he tried to sound tough.
The lingering image of his time at the helm in New Jersey will be him sitting on the beach during a state government shutdown, totally unaware that looking like an insolent prat doth not constitute leadership.
Gov. Hogan certainly isn’t there yet. That being said, he had a chance to take a stand for the Constitution that a Democrat wouldn’t have — and he blew it.
A big part of the NRA’s mission is making sure politicians keep their word with gun owners. The group has every reason to downgrade him and decline to endorse him.
We certainly hope Hogan wins re-election, but we also hope once he does, he’ll reconsider offering Marylanders’ constitutional rights as a sacrificial lamb.
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