On the subject of the earlier “None of These” ballot option in Nevada, the National Rifle Association said Friday it was endorsing no one in the state’s U.S. Senate race. The afternoon NRA press release cited Reid’s votes for Supreme Court nominees Elena Kagan and Sonia Sotomayor as the reason for their decision. A spokesperson later said the organization will not be backing Sharron Angle either.
The announcement ends months of speculation, internal NRA debate and member outcry over whether the group would or should back Reid. The endorsement conjecture existed in part because NRA executive vice president Wayne LaPierre called Reid “a true champion of the Second Amendment” at last year’s opening of the $61 million Clark County shooting range, a federally funded project championed by Reid. Others speculated that the NRA was concerned about the possible election of Dick Durbin or Chuck Schumer–neither of whom are as supportive of gun rights as Reid–as Senate leader should Reid be defeated in the election.
The NRA has in the past contributed money to Reid as well as sending letters to its members urging support for Reid, including giving the senate majority leader credit for being “instrumental” in the passage of a 2005 bill preventing gun makers, dealers and importers from being held civilly liable for crimes committed with their products. Reid has also received praise from the NRA for voting against amendments to ban assault weapons as well as voting for the repeal of a gun ban in Washington D.C.
Another national gun rights group, Gun Owners of America, which describes itself as “the only no-compromise gun lobby in Washington D.C.,” has glowingly endorsed Angle and gave Reid an “F” rating based on various gun control votes he has cast over the years.