Gun Giveaways Thrive in GOP Campaign Playbook


Gun giveaways through online sweepstakes “have become one of the most useful tools for campaign outreach in the 2014 Republican primaries,” reports the New York Times. 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 a durable campaign device. Those who enter gun sweepstakes often are solicited for contact information, then for support and money for a candidate. The NRA, which has been doing Publishers Clearinghouse-style gun sweepstakes since the 1980s, figured out the allure of free guns years ago. Instead of direct mail, it now employs a range of online campaigns, including Facebook-based contests that provide the organization with information-rich public profiles and lists of their friends. Millions of people have entered these contests, the group said.

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