I know, for tax purposes, you can’t say “endorsement” — even though THAT is exactly what it looks like is going on here. In a previous post, we raised questions about how Grass Roots North Carolina came to a decision on a particular candidate in the Third Congressional District. We invite you to reread that post as well as the response / clarification from GRNC boss Paul Valone in the comment section below said post.
For the purpose of this post, we will not be reprinting Mr. Vallone’s entire post, but will be quoting excerpts from it. (Again, you are welcome to refer back to the previous post to read his comments in their entirety.)
THIRD CONGRESSIONAL DISTRICT
This was a tough primary to call because, frankly, there are so many good Republican candidates, most of whom we would support in a General Election. However, we recommended Rep. Michael Speciale because he is one of the three most pro-gun legislators in the NC House.[…]
We agree there. But the problem with that statement? Of the three legislators in the race, Speciale had the worst rating in GRNC’s very own system. MORE:
[…] Voting records are a good, but not perfect measure of a candidate. No candidate evaluation system is flawless and, unfortunately, all votes are not created equal. Often, mediocre Republican candidates fall into the category I call “votes right when squeezed.” Moreover, party leaders are very adept at avoiding recorded votes. Consequently, we make a point of using procedural votes (e.g. motions to table, or to divide the question) in addition to what we call “substantive” votes – votes on bills or amendments themselves.
But your own explanation of your evaluation system told readers that voting records — if they exist — are the most important thing to look at in evaluating a candidate. In terms of voting record ratings, Reps. Shepard and Murphy had better ratings for their voting records — according to GRNC’s own system — than Speciale did. MORE:
[…]Rep. Speciale didn’t know that when, in his first term, he voted against a series of motions to table anti-gun amendments to one of our bills made by then-Rules Chair Rep. Tim Moore. When I spoke to him afterward, he maintained that out of fairness, every legislator should get a floor vote on his amendments, however bad they may be.[…]
So, were the other two legislators in the race ASKED if they had any regrets about old votes, and therefore granted “PASSES” on said regretted votes? MORE:
[…] Since that time, Speciale has invariably voted *for* the interests of gun rights supporters many times on House Bills 562, 937 and 746. More importantly, he has acted a primary sponsor for numerous pro-gun bills, many of which I helped draft.[…]
So, wait a minute. Are we to believe NOW that Reps. Shepard and Murphy were snubbed by GRNC because they did not act as a primary sponsor on bills Mr. Valone drafted? MORE:
[…] By contrast, in 2017 Rep Murphy to advance a weakening amendment to House Bill 746, the permitless concealed carry bill which passed in the NC House but failed to get a hearing in the NC Senate. […]
In the announcement of their “recommendation” of Rep. Speciale, GRNC said: “[…] The candidate we DO NOT recommend is NC House Representative Greg Murphy, who has repeatedly voted against the interests of gun owners.[…]”.
Repeatedly — to most people –means more than once. And Valone offers ONE example. We checked on his example. HB 746 did indeed allow for permitless concealed carry of firearms. And an amendment changed the penalty for taking a firearm into the legislature or a courthouse from “an infraction” to “a class one misdemeanor.” (What’s the penalty for an infraction?) That amendment is hardly a “weakening” one.
A motion was offered by a Democrat to TABLE the amendment. And Rep. Murphy voted NO, along with Reps. Larry Pittman and John Blust. (This is the only vote on this bill where Greg Murphy voted on the opposite side of a majority of Republicans and Mike Speciale.) ONE VOTE. So WHERE are we getting “repeatedly”?
Also, this alleged unforgivable offense by Murphy occurred in 2017. Mr. Valone’s group recommended Murphy for reelection in 2018. If Murphy was so bad on guns in 2017, why recommend him for reelection in 2018? Mr. Valone just told us that they don’t recommend anyone in a race where no one stands out. A liberal Democrat vs. a Republican “bad on guns” would surely fit that category.
[…] And while other candidates such as Rep. Phil Shepherd may have excellent voting records, they have not stuck their neck out for gun rights supporters – particularly by sponsoring pro-gun bills – the way Speciale has. […]
Because “Remember in November” is an objective candidate evaluation system, I cannot change his early voting record, but GRNC-PVF *can* recognize Michael Speciale as the standout candidate in the 3rd Congressional District Republican primary.[…]
There’s that word “objective.” The funny thing is — Mr. Valone’s explanation makes this whole process look quite subjective and quite pre-determined.