Yesterday, Democratic Gov. Joe Manchin picked up an endorsement from the NRA — his second endorsement this week from a group that generally endorses Republicans. (The first was the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.) From the NRA press release:
Gov. Manchin is a lifelong hunter and sportsman and as West Virginia’s governor, he signed Castle Doctrine legislation into law to restore the right to self-defense in a person’s home and property along with legislation to increase reciprocity for right-to-carry permit holders in West Virginia. He also signed Emergency Powers legislation into law that prohibits gun confiscation during states of emergency as happened after Hurricane Katrina; No-Net-Loss of hunting lands into law that ensures adequate access to public hunting land; and a bill to prevent anti-gun New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s gun dealer entrapment schemes.
“Joe Manchin’s support for individual gun ownership rights has earned him an “A” rating and endorsement from the NRA-PVF,” Cox continued. “We ask all West Virginia gun owners, hunters and NRA members to vote Joe Manchin for U.S. Senate on November 2nd.”
Manchin was clearly delighted by the endorsement. From his campaign’s press release:
The National Rifle Association’s (NRA) Political Victory Fund has officially endorsed Joe Manchin for U.S. Senate. Their endorsement highlighted the Governor’s background as a lifelong hunter and sportsman as well as his “A” rating from the NRA. This announcement comes on the heels of the West Virginia and US Chamber of Commerce endorsing Manchin because of the “business friendly environment” he has created over the last 6 years and his commitment to be an independent voice standing up for West Virginians.
“I am honored to receive this endorsement from the NRA,” Manchin said. “I am a lifetime member of the NRA and proud to be a pro-gun West Virginian. In the U.S. Senate, I will lead the fight against any attempts, including from the Obama administration, to weaken our 2nd amendment rights to ensure that law-abiding Americans can always bear arms.”
Both endorsements undercut Republicans’ ability to assert that Manchin would vote with his party consistently.
Last week, the state GOP party filed an injunction that requested that West Virginia provide each voter with two ballots. The party argued that since the election for Sen. Byrd’s replacement was a special election, it should not be on the same ballot as the other races. The GOP is concerned that in the heavily Democratic state, one ballot will be more likely to lead to voters choosing to automatically vote down the line for their party.
Today a judge rejected the GOP case, Politico reports, leaving party officials unsure as to whether they will appeal the ruling or not. Using two different ballots could cost the state between $1.2 million to $3 million, estimates Secretary of State Natalie Tennant. The GOP has said it will decide this weekend whether to appeal or not.
And the West Virginia senate candidate debate has been finalized, reports the Charleston Daily Mail. It will be held on October 18, and will include Manchin, GOP candidate John Raese, Constitution party candidate Jeff Becker, and Mountain party candidate Jesse Johnson. (For those curious what the Mountain party stands for, their platform can be read here. Its seems to emphasize the environment and non-violence.)