Gun show politics
In a state with millions of gun owners and more than 430,000 concealed weapon permit-holders, a candidate doesn't get to schmooze the habitual voters to be found among the firearm, knife, and occasional Nazi memorabilia vendors without help from two key figures: Pasco County GOP Chairman Bill Bunting and Victor Bean of Orlando, the owner of the Southern Classic Gun & Knife shows.
Got a candidate who once liked requiring waiting periods for gun purchases? Forget about him getting too close to the tens of thousands of voters at Florida gun shows. Got one who's always scoffed at banning assault weapons? The doors may open wide.
"You don't get in unless Bill Bunting says you get in," said Republican National Committeewoman Sharon Day, recounting how volunteers for Republican gubernatorial candidate Tom Gallagher forced their way into a Fort Lauderdale gun show last year to pass out campaign material only to be quickly ejected. More here.