Rep. Chris Jacobs, R-N.Y., on Friday ended his reelection bid after receiving blowback for announcing he would vote for a federal ban on guns like AR-15 rifles and raising the age of gun ownership to 21 in the wake of the Buffalo supermarket shooting last month.
“We have a problem in our country in terms of both our major parties. If you stray from a party position, you are annihilated,” Jacobs said during a press conference in front of the Erie County Clerk Building in Buffalo, N.Y. “For the Republicans, it became pretty apparent to me over the last week that that issue is gun control. Any gun control. For Democrats, it’s such thing as abortions.
“This requirement of 100 percent fealty or else is not good for our democracy and certainly is one reason not much gets done in Washington, D.C.,” he added. “In regard to gun control and achieving some rational, effective gun control, I believe the real hindrance right now to meaningful reform is trust.”
Jacobs told The Buffalo News that every Republican elected official that had endorsed him “withdrew their endorsement. Party officials that supported me withdrew, most of them, and those that were going to said they would not. And so obviously, this was not well received by the Republican base.”
Despite the backlash, Jacobs said he still felt like he had a chance of winning reelection.
“But it would be an incredibly divisive election for both the Republican Party and for the people of the 23rd District, many of whom I have not ever represented,” he said Friday. “The last thing we need is an incredibly negative, half-truth filled media attack funded by millions of dollars of special interest money coming into our community around this issue of guns and violence and gun control.”