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NRA's Congressional Report Card Is Out. One Party Got Mostly F's

For first time in 25 years, not a single Dem candidate received an A from gun rights group
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 23, 2022 12:12 PM CDT
NRA's Congressional Report Card Is Out. One Party Got Mostly F's
The National Rifle Association's Wayne LaPierre speaks during the Leadership Forum at the George R. Brown Convention Center on May 27 in Houston.   (AP Photo/Michael Wyke)

It's not terribly surprising that Democrats running for Congress this year received a dismal report card from the National Rifle Association, as they tend to be much more critical of the gun rights advocacy organization than their Republican counterparts. What makes this year's candidate ratings from the NRA's PAC stand out, however: It's the first time in at least a quarter century that, out of 450 Democrats on the ballot, not a single one received an A, reports the New York Times, which crunched the stats for the 900-plus major-party candidates running for the House or Senate. The closest a Democrat came to getting a pat on the head from the NRA was Maine Rep. Jared Golden, who got a B. The grades for the rest of the Democratic candidates resembled a scene from Animal House: Three Dems received C's, 23 received D's, and a whopping 370—or 81%—got an F.

The 200 or so Democrats with reelection bids fared even worse, with 98% of them receiving a failing grade, per the Times analysis. If you're wondering what happened to the other 50 or so Democratic candidates in the mix, they received a "?" rating, which the Times explains means "they had no public record on gun policy or had made contradictory statements." Not that the GOP had entirely clear sailing: Although just one Republican, Pennsylvania Rep. Brian Fitzpatrick, got an F, and only seven others received D's, 24% of them were marked with the "?" rating, which the NRA notes "often indicates indifference, if not outright hostility" to gun rights. That's up significantly from 11% a decade ago. This is also the third straight election that the NRA has doled out more F's (40%) than A's (36%).

The Times notes that the shift in the rankings, which used to have more of an influence on elections, "is the culmination of a yearslong trend of eroding support for the hard-line views of the [NRA], which retains strong allegiance from Republican candidates but has lost any semblance of bipartisan support." The paper points out that as recently as 10 years ago, 70 Dems received an A rating. Matt Castelli, who's running in New York's 21st Congressional District against GOP incumbent Elise Stefanik, is one Dem who takes issue with his "F," calling the NRA "corrupt" for ignoring the facts and painting him as "extremely anti-gun." He says he's a gun owner himself who supports "responsible gun ownership" but not such proposals as an assault weapons ban, per the Adirondack Daily Enterprise. Stefanik, meanwhile, received an A+ rating from the NRA and says she's proud of it. (Read more NRA stories.)

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