06/19/2014 04:27 pm ET | Updated Jun 19, 2014

Gun Giveaways Are This Cycle's Hottest Campaign Ploy


Clint Didier, a tea party-backed Republican and former Washington Redskins player, announced Thursday that he would be giving away three guns to raise his profile among a crowded field vying to succeed retiring Rep. Doc Hastings (R-Wash.).

Didier, who has support from the National Republican Congressional Committee, is tapping into one of this cycle's hottest conservative campaign gimmicks with his contest.

Many of the Republicans who have raffled off guns seemed to relish the opportunity to tout their Second Amendment rights in the wake of shootings in Aurora, Colorado and in Newtown, Connecticut.

However, the email-grabbing tactic isn't terribly successful at the ballot box: neither state Sen. Lee Bright (R-S.C.) nor Rep. Paul Broun (R-Ga.) won their respective Republican Senate primaries.

Below is a round-up of some of the current (and former) candidates using guns to attract new supporters.

  • Former Rep. Ron Paul (R-Texas)
    Paul is the chairman of the Campaign for Liberty, an advocacy group that says it works to “promote and defend the great American principles.” In April, the group announced that it would be giving away an AR-15.
  • Rep. Steve Stockman (R-Texas)
    In 2013, Stockman gave away two Bushmaster AR-15 assault rifles, saying that the rifle in question, which was used to kill 26 in Newtown, Connecticut, is "the firearm that Obama most wants to ban."
  • Rep. Paul Broun (R-Ga.)
    Broun, who mounted an unsuccessful bid for the Republican nomination to succeed Sen. Saxby Chambliss (R-Ga.), gave away two guns earlier this year.
  • South Carolina state Sen. Lee Bright (R)
    “I know the political talking heads may sneer as they continue blaming guns and law-abiding gun owners for the acts of thugs and madmen. But I am the pro-gun, pro-Constitution candidate in this race for the U.S. Senate -- and I can’t think of a better way to get that word out than by giving away a brand new AR-15,” Bright said in an email announcing his contest. Bright failed in his attempt to unseat Sen. Lindsey Graham in South Carolina's Republican primary.
  • Colorado gubernatorial candidate Tom Tancredo
    Tancredo teamed up with controversial conservative rocker Ted Nugent to raffle off an AR-15 to one supporter.
  • House candidate Clint Didier
    Didier, a former NFL player who has support from both tea party factions and the National Republican Congressional Committee, is running to succeed retiring Rep. Doc Hastings (R-Wash.). His campaign is giving away two Ruger 2300 LC9 pistols and a DB-15 S rifle. “As a farmer, I like to think my campaign is sowing the seeds of freedom,” Didier said in a statement announcing the contest. “The Second Amendment is the one that protects and guarantees all of our other freedoms.”
  • Missouri state Senate Majority Whip Brian Nieves
    Nieves gave away an AR-15 during a clay pigeon shooting fundraiser last year. Different versions of the same assault weapon were used in both the shooting at a movie theater in Aurora, Colorado, and at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut.