The hottest campaign giveaway in the 2014 Senate race is the AR-15 semiautomatic rifle.
Two separate Republican candidates for Senate are raffling off the controversial assault weapon as part of their campaigns to unseat sitting U.S. senators and solidify themselves as Tea Party stalwarts of the Second Amendment.
U.S. Rep. Paul Broun, who represents the 10th district in Georgia and is running in a primary campaign for one of that state’s Senate seats, sent an email blast to supporters last week asking: “How would you like to start off 2014 with a brand new AR-15 for free?” Broun’s website says he is holding the raffle because “Barack Obama would like nothing more than to ban the AR-15 rifle.”Meanwhile, Lee Bright, a state Senator in South Carolina who is challenging Sen. Lindsey Graham in the GOP primary for Senate, is also holding an AR-15 sweepstakes for his supporters. Bright’s giveaway mentions the Newtown massacre, in which a lone gunman used an AR-15 to kill 20 children and six adults.
“In the wake of the horrific tragedy in Newtown, Conn., gun-grabbers were sure they had the votes to ram gun control into law,” Bright’s email to supporters said.
Neither contest is original, however. Rep. Steve Stockman raffled off an AR-15 on July 4 of last year in his reelection campaign and, in a flourish typical of the Texas showman, included a video of his interns shooting the rifles.