Will Texas Politics Impact NRA EVP Succession?

With so much attention focussed on the trial involving the NRA in New York City, scant attention has been paid to who succeeds Wayne LaPierre as CEO and Executive Vice President of the NRA. I think most observers would agree that Andrew Arulanandam, who will serve as the interim EVP upon Wayne’s January 31st resignation, is a place holder and not a serious contender for the permanent position.

An article by Stephen Gutowski in The Reload posted today may give some clue as to a potential successor. After discussing what I called “the dueling letters” regarding post-employment compensation and health issues of Wayne, Gutowski provides this potential clue.

Prominent NRA supporters have already begun publicly circulating at least one alternative. Former NRA Institute of Legislative Action deputy executive director and general counsel Wade Callender, who helped coordinate with the group’s state affiliate in the successful 2022 Supreme Court Bruen case, has already received the backing of several elected officials. Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton (R.) and State Senator Drew Springer (R.) posted a call for Callender to take over the NRA’s top perch on social media this week.

Callender left the position as General Counsel and Deputy Executive Director of NRA-ILA due, in large part, to the growing interference from the NRA’s outside counsel William Brewer III. Callender confirmed this to me in a face-to-face conversation we held at the 2022 Gun Rights Policy Conference held in Irving, Texas. He has since returned to private practice in Dallas area.

Texas AG Ken Paxton has been a stalwart supporter of the Second Amendment and has signed on to a number of amicus briefs in support of it. Paxton, who was last year impeached by the Texas House of Representatives, was acquitted on all charges in the trial in the Texas Senate. The move to impeach Paxton was led by Texas House Speaker Dade Phelan who is his arch political enemy. Phelan, who is considered a RINO by Texas conservatives, and has been asked to resign by the leaders of the Texas Republican Party.

After the murders of school children in Uvalde, Phelan formed a House Select Committee on Community Safety to review all firearms-related legislation. This included red flag laws and raising the age to purchase a modern sporting rifle. While the committee composition was officially seven Republicans and six Democrats, the Republican chair had been a Democrat until just recently.

With this as a background, Randy Kozuch, Executive Director of NRA-ILA and Chairman of the NRA-PVF, endorsed Dade Phelan and rated him A+.

This brought pushback from a number of conservatives including Dana Loesch who served as a special assistant to Wayne at one time. She said of Phelan that he “was an obstacle while fighting red flag laws, and dragged out our fight to win Constitutional carry.” Others are saying they are dropping their NRA membership or looking for alternatives.

One must wonder who pushed Randy Kozuch to give an A+ rating to Phelan who by most accounts is a RINO and who is marginal on gun rights. Was it the Old Guard on the NRA led by NRA President Charles Cotton who is a Texan? Was it Bill Brewer who saw an ally in a RINO politician who was barely so-so on gun rights? If Brewer, was it with knowledge that it would anger true Second Amendment supporters in Texas?

Giving Phelan the A+ rating and endorsement obviously angered his arch-enemies Ken Paxton and Sen. Drew Springer as the next day they endorsed Wade Callender for EVP. This move by Paxton and Springer is definitely a call for new blood to lead the NRA and a repudiation of the Old Guard.

One thought on “Will Texas Politics Impact NRA EVP Succession?”

Comments are closed.