U.S. Rep. Glenn Nye pulled down the endorsement of the National Rifle Association Wednesday, in another twist in the race for Virginia's 2nd District.
Nye, a Norfolk Democrat, is running against Republican Scott Rigell and independent Kenny Golden for the seat that represents a slice of Hampton, part of Norfolk and all of Virginia Beach and the Eastern Shore.
For Nye the endorsement is a nice win, because he's been working for months to play up his conservative credentials and his independence from the Democratic leadership. Here's the text and here's the full letter is you want to take a look - Download Nye_Endorsement_Letter
“The National Rifle Association Political Victory Fund is endorsing Glenn Nye because he is a strong defender of the Second Amendment freedoms of law-abiding gun owners, hunters and sportsmen in Virginia,” said Chris W. Cox, chairman of the NRA-PVF. “Nye’s support for our right to keep and bear arms and our hunting heritage has earned him an ‘A’ rating with the NRA-PVF. We encourage all NRA members and gun owners in Virginia’s 2nd Congressional District to vote for Glenn Nye on November 2.”
Nye has a long-standing record of supporting legislation upholding the Second Amendment. Since entering Congress, Nye has signed a letter to Attorney General Eric Holder with 64 House Democrats expressing opposition to the reenactment of the Clinton ban on semi-automatic firearms and ammunition magazines. He has also cosponsored legislation to implement much-needed reform to the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, and has voted in support of right-to-carry reciprocity, right-to-carry in national parks. Nye also cosponsored the Second Amendment Enforcement Act, which would repeal the gun ban and registration statute in the nation's capital. A member of the Superior Pawn and Gun Range in Virginia Beach, Nye also supports protecting hunting, fishing, trapping and recreational shooting on public land managed by the Bureau of Land Management.
The endorsement is an interesting win, because most consistent Republicans know that Rigell as a member of the GOP is going to stand for gun rights.
UPDATE: Here's the full list of rankings in Virginia races where Rigell gets an AQ - which means the NRA likes him based on his answers to a candidate questionnaire. Rigell's folks said he's a lifetime NRA member and said the nod for Nye was based on the "friendly incumbent rule."
Golden is the most likely of all three of the candidates to be actually carry a pistol - so I doubt this turns off any of his folks.
But for Nye the endorsement is a real opportunity to reach out to the large pool of casual voters who still show up during congressional midterms and the folks - remember the 19 percent undecided according to the most recent poll conducted by The Hill.
In the past two weeks, Nye has been able to pull down the endorsement of the NRA and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. I've never been a huge believer in endorsements, most folks tend to make up their own minds especially in local races. But look at what Nye's campaign has to play with now on televison and in fliers. Nye folks can easily make a compelling case that he is not your run of the mil average Democrat.
Further, an NRA endorsement makes cuts into Rigell's attempts to brand Nye with the Nancy Pelosi brush - these are simple very easy to communicate signals that even the most unplugged voter probably has a handle on. That said, you wonder how Nye is going to approach this because if he starts touting his NA endorsement on TV he might turn off some Democrats who already aren't dying to get to the polls.
So you'll probably see this is in a flier, simply because coupled together the NRA and the Chamber of Commerce makes a good one-two punch for rank and file voters.