Hotline – 1st NRA endorsement goes to a Dem – may endorse Childers

The National Rifle Association has endorsed OH Gov. Ted Strickland (D), bestowing its first official blessing of the ’10 midterms on a Dem.

In a letter to Strickland’s campaign, provided to Hotline OnCall and first reported by CNN, the NRA’s political arm said it gave the incumbent an “A+” rating — and its coveted backing.

“As Governor, you continue to be a vocal advocate in the fight to promote Second Amendment freedoms for law-abiding citizens,” wrote Chris Cox, the chairman of the NRA’s political wing and its chief lobbyist. “Our members will interpret your ‘A+’ rating and endorsement as an indication that you are a pro-Second Amendment, pro-hunting candidate who supports sportsmen and gun-owners on every issue. This rating and endorsement information will be communicated to NRA members prior to the November General Election.”

Still, thanks to Dem efforts to broaden their tent, the group is likely to back a significant number of Dems — especially younger members whose seats are top GOP targets. In ’08, the NRA endorsed Reps. Leonard Boswell (D-IA), Baron Hill (D-IN), Ike Skelton (D-MO), Travis Childers (D-MS), Earl Pomeroy (D-ND), Charlie Wilson (D-OH), Zack Space (D-OH), Jason Altmire (D-PA), Chris Carney (D-PA), Paul Kanjorski (D-PA), Stephanie Herseth Sandlin (D-SD), Chet Edwards (D-TX) and Rick Boucher (D-VA) — all of whom are top NRCC targets.
If the NRA gets involved in many of the same races this year, their signature election guides — distributed to their more than 4M members shortly before election day — could save some members who might otherwise be on the chopping block.