How Did The NRA Do In 2011?
In 2010, the NRA took quite a bit of heat from conservatives for endorsing a number of Blue Dog Democrats as many faced difficult re-election bids. Some won, some didn’t. And of course, the GOP would still win the majority despite the endorsements but I remember hearing the comment that the NRA could single handily be responsible for these two words: Speaker Pelosi.
And the NRA paid no attention to how a member voted for Speaker; they said on many times they were a single-issue group only concerned about direct Second Amendment votes. That is how many Pelosi-backing Democrats got their endorsement. This included Travis Childers and Gene Taylor.
To be fair to the NRA, their single issue and bi-partisan approach has made them one of the most powerful voices in D.C. and state capitols throughout the nation. They will note how even when Pelosi was Speaker with a caucus of 240+ Democrats, no anti-gun legislation saw the light of day much to the objection of coastal liberals. And they make a good point. As opposed to just 20 years ago, pretty much all of the country is NRA country except for the Atlantic Coast from D.C. to Boston and the West Coast from L.A. to Seattle. And you can throw in Chicago. But other than that, candidates with both R’s and D’s next to their name will run toward the NRA.
That is especially true in Mississippi. Most Democrats in competitive districts received A’s from the group, with one- Bo Eaton- receiving an A+. That meant that endorsements went to members such as Mark DuVall, Jimmy Puckett, Dirk Dedeaux, Brandon Jones, and Diane Peranich. They all lost their re-election bids; some weren’t even close. On the flip side, the only Senator in a competitive district who didn’t win their backing was Deborah Dawkins. It went to Republican Ashley Skellie, but Dawkins would go on to win another term.
So my question is- even though every incumbent and candidate will covet an A rating or endorsement- how much does it matter? In close races, the NRA hasn’t had the best track record over the past couple years.