NRA Issues General Election Endorsements
Earlier this summer, the NRA endorsed Phil Bryant as he was facing Dave Dennis and others in the GOP primary. In the lieutenant governor’s race they gave A’s to both Billy Hewes and Tate Reeves, but held off on a formal endorsement. Not that it matters now, but Reeves did win their endorsement. The group, however, chose not to issue an endorsement in the race for attorney general. Steve Simpson received an A based off the questionnaire, while Jim Hood received a B. Not exactly sure how low the incumbents’ grade needs to be before that triggers an endorsement for the challenger.
Those endorsements for challengers, they were few and far between. As we have talked about over the past couple years, the NRA rewards incumbents who support their position. They might say it is not necessarily automatic, but it’s as close to automatic as you can get. Incumbents who received an A all received an endorsement. Here is a complete listing of grades and endorsements.
Like endorsing Travis Childers and Gene Taylor, this will aggravate conservatives to no end, but here is a sampling of Democrats locked in competitive re-election battles who have won the endorsement: Mark DuVall, Jimmy Puckett, Donnie Bell, Bennett Malone, Bob Evans, Dirk Dedeaux, Brandon Jones, and Diane Peranich. The NRA also gave their backing to David Baria, who is trying to make a move from the Senate to the House. Same story with Republican Nolan Mettetal. The only incumbent in a competitive district who did not receive their endorsement was John Mayo, running for re-election in HD 25, who has a C- rating. It went to Republican Gene Alday.
On the flip side, all incumbent Republicans in competitive districts (and all Republican incumbents period I believe) received their endorsement. In competitive open seats, endorsements generally didn’t go out. This includes: HD 2, HD 3, HD 4, HD 13, HD 28, HD 105, and HD 107. But an endorsement did go out in the open HD 75 seat being vacated by Tracy Arinder. Democrat Tom Miles received an A and the endorsement. Based on her questionnaire, Republican Brenda Whatley-Kirby received an F from the group. That is something you just don’t see with Democrats, never mind Republicans.
The Senate was even less interesting. Again, incumbents ruled the day. The only incumbent in a competitive district who did not receive an endorsement was Deborah Dawkins in SD 48, she has a C rating. Republican Ashley Skellie received the formal backing. In open seats such as SD 8, SD 10, SD 39, and SD 46, no endorsement went out. Republican Philip Gandy received an endorsement in his open seat battle with James Walley in SD 43. Walley didn’t get the questionnaire in to the NRA helping Gandy’s cause.
While many incumbents received an A, here is the select list of those who received an A+, the highest grade available: Merle Flowers, Terry Burton, Perry Lee, Joey Fillingane, Chris McDaniel, Michael Watson, Sid Bondurant, Gary Chism, Jeff Smith, Philip Gunn, John Moore, Bill Denny, Bo Eaton, Greg Snowden, Herb Frierson, and Mark Formby.