Republican members of the state legislature have been called “second class citizens,” and for good reason. Even though they dominate the legislature numerically, it has been said they are treated “like garbage” by the very political opponents they outnumber.
Examples abound, such as one of their chairmen, Ray Garofalo, being removed because of pressure by Democrats incited by a slip of the tongue. In addition, it appears Republicans may be headed toward defeat on a number of issues that are important to their base, such as protecting girls’ sports, constitutional carry of firearms and keeping Zucker-Bucks out of local politics. Those defeats may be averted through a Veto Session, but that is uncertain as of this writing.
Now, however, there is evidence that the Republican base has taken note of the party’s weakness, and they are doing something about it. They are organizing on a grassroots level and are now forming alliances.
“We have to give conservative Republicans the strength to grow backbones,” said Chris Patron, Political Director of the Firearm Professionals of Louisiana, one of the grassroots groups now stepping up their organizing efforts.
Patron is one of four grassroots leaders who issued a joint statement on June 23rd calling on eleven Republican senators who are thought to be undecided to vote in favor of holding a Veto Session. Their letter, believed to be the first time these four organizations have acted in concert, reads as follows:
“Dear Senators Abraham, Reese, McMath, Bernard, Cathey, Foil, Pope, White, Allain, Ward and Lambert: We urge you to vote FOR a veto session so that you may consider the transgender sports bill, constitutional carry, and other issues important to your base. Thank you.”
The four signatories to the letter were Patron, on behalf of the FPofLa.com, Gene Mills, on behalf of the Louisiana Family Forum, Dan Zelenka, on behalf of the Louisiana Shooting Association, which is the official NRA Affiliate in the state, and Mike Weinberger, for the Home Defense Foundation.
How many grassroots activists can be organized? The letter points out, under the logo of the Firearm Professionals group, that there are over 2,000 firearm professionals in Louisiana. A quick check verified this, as there are over 1,300 firearm dealers in the state, called “FFL’s,” and over 2,100 firearm instructors officially licensed by the State Police. See:
Breaking the state down into 39 senatorial districts, that means there are easily more than 50 “firearm professionals” in the average senatorial district. If these individuals communicate with their scores of generally conservative customers that could be a game changer. This is because many legislative races are decided by a few thousand or sometimes a few hundred votes. Fifty firearm professionals who influence a score of votes apiece is a thousand votes. Indeed, switching one thousand votes from Candidate A to Candidate B is a net-net of two thousand votes, which can easily decide the outcome in a close state Senate race.
Will such an organizational effort be undertaken? Patron says that his group has already started forming local chapters and on May 6th he advised Senator Gary Smith of the formation of a chapter in the senator’s area, which includes Norco, Luling and nearby towns.
CONCLUSION: There is no question that republican voters in Louisiana are more conservative than the results produced to date in this session of the legislature. Perhaps Patron and his allies will be able to use the Second Amendment as the motivating issue that gets these voters off the couch and engaged. Time will tell.
Jeff Crouere is a native New Orleanian and his award winning program, “Ringside Politics,” airs nationally on Real America’s Voice Network, AmericasVoice.News weekdays at 7 a.m. CT and from 7-11 a.m. weekdays on WGSO 990-AM & Wgso.com. He is a political columnist, the author of America’s Last Chance and provides regular commentaries on the Jeff Crouere YouTube channel and on Crouere.net. For more information, email him at [email protected]