NRA: Our Endorsement Policy Is Incumbent-Friendly
Y’all Politics recently linked to a story from Hotline about the coveted NRA endorsements, especially in rural or conservative leaning districts. For Democrats, they wear an A rating or (even better) a formal endorsement as a badge showing that they are not some Nancy Pelosi-type liberal (even if they vote for her). In MS-01, they endorsed Travis Childers in 2008 and as you read their endorsement policy you have to figure it will be hard for them to endorse anyone but Childers this time around.
The NRA-PVF is non-partisan in issuing its candidate grades and endorsements. We do not base our decisions on a candidate’s party affiliation, but rather on his or her record on Second Amendment issues. The NRA is a single issue organization. The only issues on which we evaluate candidates seeking elected office are gun-related issues. While there are many issues a candidate must address with voters, and while voters evaluate a number of non-gun-related issues in factoring which candidate they will support or oppose, NRA-PVF’s sole criteria in issuing grades and endorsements is a candidate’s position on gun-related issues.
With four million NRA members and 80 million gun owners in the country, our constituency is diverse in its views on multiple issues of our day. However, we are all united in our support of the Second Amendment and our opposition to the notion that passing more laws that negatively impact law-abiding gun owners will reduce crime. For us to divide that otherwise united base of support on non-firearm-related issues would be strategically foolish.
NRA has an incumbent-friendly policy that dictates our support for pro-gun incumbents seeking reelection. It is important that we stand with our friends who stand with us in Congress or the state legislature through their actions. Of course, should a pro-gun challenger win his election, and stay true to support for our gun rights, then he will be the beneficiary of this policy when seeking re-election.
Our endorsement is not given lightly; it is something that is reserved for those candidates who meet certain criteria and something that must be earned.
Basically for incumbents, as long as they have sided with the NRA on gun-specific issues they will enjoy an endorsement from the powerful lobbying group. Also, the statement about only being concerned about “gun-related issues” seems to indicate that they could care less how you vote for Speaker even though most people can understand the implications on gun rights for a liberal, anti-Second Amendment Speaker.
Look for Childers to be among a group of recently elected rural and conservative Democrats facing a tough re-election battle to get a boost from the NRA when formal endorsements roll around. And, in all honesty, I wouldn’t be surprised to see a good bit of push back among members because of this.