Over at The Plum Line Jamelle Bouie is a little irrationally exhuberant about the prospects for renewed action on Gun Safety based on promises of a new talking tour by Joe Biden and reports of deteriorating public polls for Ayotte, Baucus, Begich, and Murkowsi.
Well, not so fast buckaroo.
OFA’s first foray falls short
By: Reid J. Epstein, Politico
May 3, 2013 05:02 AM EDT
President Barack Obama’s man in North Dakota couldn’t pitch in to help shame Sen. Heidi Heitkamp for her vote against gun control – he was busy with his new job selling Toyotas.
Organizing for Action’s top Montana official wouldn’t canvass the state to turn up the heat on Sen. Max Baucus because there was no reimbursement for the gas money.
Alaska Sens. Mark Begich and Lisa Murkowski haven’t had to worry about running up against OFA’s influence there, since Obama’s former state director there has turned back to building up her own political consulting business – “I need to get to making money,” she said.
Even in states Obama carried handily – places like Ohio and New Hampshire – the group couldn’t hold big rallies, blanket the airwaves with TV ads or motivate enough supporters to match the volume of phone calls from pro-gun advocates. Asked for demonstrations of the strong effort they were mounting, OFA staff pointed to “tweet your senator” pushes they encouraged in the days after the vote.
What that’s added up to so far: On the weekend after the background checks vote, seven OFA volunteers protested at the Tampa office of Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.). “More than 30” came to protest Sen. Max Baucus (D-Mont.) at his Bozeman office, according to a local TV station, though some of them were counter-protesters in support of Baucus’s no vote on background checks.
Just 20 people came to protest Sen. Richard Burr (R-N.C.) at his Winston-Salem office. The OFA protesters were invited into the office two at a time to air their grievances to staff, a Burr spokesman told POLITICO. A few accepted the offer, but many did not.
There were no events in North Dakota or Alaska, each home to Democrats who voted no. In Arkansas, the lead state volunteer planned events in and around Little Rock, where he lives, and posted them to OFA’s website. Barely anyone showed.
Outside groups like Mayors Against Illegal Guns are counting on OFA to help them pack town hall meetings to confront senators who voted against the background checks bill.
But at New Hampshire Republican Kelly Ayotte’s town hall meetings Tuesday, there was no discernible OFA presence. While there were protesters, many of them attended on their own to voice concerns to Ayotte about gun control or were organized by the Michael Bloomberg-backed group, which distributed signs saying, “Shame on you.”
OFA has just 19 paid state coordinators. 11ty Dimensional Chess my ass.