Carolyn D. Meadows, the new president of the National Rifle Association, has said that one of her goals is to reclaim for the Republican Party a congressional district that she believes was lost in part because the Democrats nominated "a minority female."
The comment was made during an interview with the Marietta Daily Journal, which discussed how one of Meadows' goals for the NRA is to use its fundraising and grassroots organizing prowess to win back Georgia's Sixth Congressional District. That district is currently represented by Democratic Rep. Lucy McBath, who defeated incumbent Republican Rep. Karen Handel in last fall's midterm elections.
"There will be more than one person in the race, but we'll get that seat back. But it is wrong to say, like McBath said, that the reason she won was because of her anti-gun stance," Meadows told the Daily Journal. "That didn't have anything to do with it. It had to do with being a minority female, and the Democrats really turned out. And that's the problem we have with conservatives: We don't turn out as well."
Meadows, who is a Georgia native with a personal connection to that district, also discussed how she more broadly wants to help President Donald Trump and other conservative politicians win their respective elections. This is consistent with the NRA's mission as a right-wing advocacy group, although that only became its function in the 1970s (before then, it was primarily a sportsmen's group).
"We’re going to work to get Donald Trump reelected, unity, and that’s primarily it: to be politically active, to bring gun-toters into the fold, to get more gun-toters to join NRA," Meadows told the Daily Journal. "It’s a powerful lobby, not just for gun rights, but for rights. We believe in the Constitution. When we take our oath of office, we actually swear allegiance to the Constitution of the United States. That’s why I do it."
Meadows has also said that the NRA needs to increase its membership in order to make it more politically powerful in upcoming elections.
"We need more members. A lot of people think they are a member because they support us, or in years past they were a member and think it lasts forever," Meadows said. "If you included all of those people, we actually would probably have 50 million members instead of between 5 and 6 million."
Media Matters for America drew attention to Meadows' comment, referencing another racially-charged episode from Meadows' past.
In addition to her work with the NRA, Meadows is the leader of an organization, the Stone Mountain Memorial Association (SMMA), that blocked a 2015 proposal to construct a monument to Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. on Stone Mountain, GA. According to the SMMA board of directors, which Meadows chairs, the King memorial would have conflicted with the massive memorial to the Confederacy that the SMMA maintains at Stone Mountain. Stone Mountain is also the site where the second iteration of the Ku Klux Klan was launched with a cross burning ceremony in 1915. In his 1963 “I Have a Dream” speech, King said, "Let freedom ring from Stone Mountain of Georgia."