The New York Times reports on a trend in Republican primaries: candidates offer up sweepstakes with a gun as the prize to attract interest —and collect personal data — from the GOP base.
Online gun sweepstakes are one of the fastest growing and most useful tools for campaign outreach in the 2014 Republican primaries. Across the country, from a race for sheriff in California to the United States Senate primary in South Carolina, candidates are using high-powered pistols and rifles as a lure to build up their donor lists and expand their base of support.
The method may be new, but the concept is actually a durable campaign device. Take a group of possible supporters who are highly motivated around an issue, in this case gun ownership and Second Amendment rights, and pique their interest with good marketing. Then, once you have their attention, solicit their personal information and follow up to ask for support and money.
The story goes in to some of the complications that come up in giving away a firearm and Ted Nugent makes an appearance, natch.
Local angle: See above an event last month for Curtis Coleman, running in the Republican primary for governor. “Look what we will give away at this Concert!! AR-15 & 100 Rounds of Ammunition.” Somewhat awkwardly, this gun giveaway was at a concert event that took place at a middle school. This is just the ploy that Coleman needs for relevance and now he’ll mount a real challenge to incumbent Asa Hutchinson. Just kidding.