NRA-PVF Endorsement Policy
Monday, May 10, 2010
We are rapidly approaching the time when NRA's Political Action
Committee the NRA Political Victory Fund (NRA-PVF) will begin
issuing endorsements in elections across the country.
As always in an election year, we receive many calls and e-mails
inquiring about our endorsement policy in general, and specific
races in particular. That trend has certainly held up this
year, as we have received many inquiries about high profile races,
such as the Nevada Senate race. For the record, NRA-PVF has
not yet announced any ratings or endorsements in this race.
With few exceptions, and for several reasons, we generally do not
announce ratings or endorsements until closer to the elections.
There are still votes to be graded and other information to be
evaluated prior to issuing an accurate grade as Election Day
As in every election year, some of these endorsements prompt
questions concerning the criteria NRA-PVF uses in making these
decisions. Following is a brief explanation of that policy.
The NRA-PVF is non-partisan in issuing its candidate grades and
endorsements. We do not base our decisions on a candidate's party
affiliation, but rather on his or her record on Second Amendment
issues. The NRA is a single-issue organization. The only issues on
which we evaluate candidates seeking elected office are gun-related
issues. While there are many issues a candidate must address with
voters, and while voters evaluate a number of non-gun-related
issues in factoring which candidate they will support or oppose,
NRA-PVF's sole criteria in issuing grades and endorsements is a
candidate's position on gun-related issues.
With four million NRA members and 80 million gun owners in the
country, our constituency is diverse in its views on multiple
issues of our day. However, we are all united in our support of the
Second Amendment and our opposition to the notion that passing more
laws that negatively impact law-abiding gun owners will reduce
crime. For us to divide that otherwise united base of support on
non-firearm-related issues would be strategically foolish.
NRA has an incumbent-friendly policy that dictates our support for
pro-gun incumbents seeking reelection. It is important that we
stand with our friends who stand with us in Congress or the state
legislature through their actions. Of course, should a pro-gun
challenger win his election, and stay true to support for our gun
rights, then he will be the beneficiary of this policy when seeking
For candidates who are not incumbents or who have not previously
held elective office and thus lack voting records, we review
answers to NRA's candidate questionnaires, their campaign
literature and relevant statements, and rely on intelligence from
NRA members and gun owners in the field.
All of this information is then reviewed and a grade of "A" to "F"
is issued. Endorsements are not given in every race. Our
endorsement is not given lightly; it is something that is reserved
for those candidates who meet certain criteria and something that
must be earned.
Sometimes we receive inquiries concerning judicial races. NRA-PVF
generally does not issue endorsements in judicial elections. In the
rare circumstances where NRA-PVF makes endorsements in state
judicial races, there are many complexities that must be taken into
account, including the following:
• Judges, unlike legislators, often do not
have voting records. Therefore, in evaluating judicial candidates,
NRA-PVF can only make evaluations based upon past legal opinions
and public statements involving firearm-related issues;
• Individual states implement different
codes of judicial conduct, and have often passed statutes limiting
judicial candidates from announcing their views on issues or
controversies that may come before the court, and;
• These codes or statutes may prevent
judicial candidates from filling out NRA-PVF candidate
questionnaires. Even if a candidate could fill out a questionnaire,
and then got elected to the bench, the questionnaire answers might
later force the judge to recuse him- or herself from a
We certainly welcome input and information from our members on
judicial candidates. It is important to remember, however, that
NRA-PVF's involvement in judicial races remains the exception and
not the rule.