The NRA has taken some criticism this month over its endorsements of individual Democrats in various Congressional races. Politico, though reports today through its Morning Score e-mail bulletin that the NRA has a big budget for home-stretch campaign ads, and that the money won’t be distributed along bipartisan lines:
The National Rifle Association’s Political Victory Fund has launched a multimillion-dollar campaign blitz on television and radio, and in the mail, to back up pro-gun candidates in House, Senate and governor’s races. The NRA-PVF has taken criticism from the GOP this cycle for endorsing a list of Democrats – including high-value candidates like West Virginia Gov. Joe Manchin and Ohio Gov. Ted Strickland – but there’s no question which party is going to benefit more from this ad blitz. The total price of the first-wave offensive is $6.75 million, hitting targeted Senate races like the contests in Colorado, Missouri, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Washington and Wisconsin. The organization’s also investing in gubernatorial elections in Arizona, Florida, Texas, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin, among other states.
Actually, this is nothing new for the NRA. They have routinely endorsed candidates of both parties that are willing to support gun rights (and to vote for them as well). Harry Reid routinely got NRA endorsements, because for all of his other flaws, Reid had been fairly good on gun rights. In order to protect gun rights over the long haul, the NRA has wisely chosen to engage with both Democrats and Republicans in order to ensure that sudden shifts in power do not jeopardize the rights of gun owners — and that strategy has worked reasonably well over the last several decades.
However, when it comes to money, that’s a different story altogether. Earlier this week, the Washington Post reported on the expenditures of outside political-action groups and where their campaign dollars went in the previous week. The NRA came in sixth on the list, and 100% of their money went to the GOP:
This money will all go to Republicans as well. In this season, groups play an all-or-nothing game, as this makes pretty clear. In fact, the most bipartisan group on the list is … the Chamber of Commerce, which spent 15% of their dollars in support of Democrats while the White House demonized them for their supposed “foreign” influences. The CoC engages both sides just as the NRA does, but obviously it didn’t do them any good in this cycle once Barack Obama and the Democrats decided to turn them into a boogeyman for the Left to shriek at, a role in which the NRA usually gets cast.