NRA decides not to endorse in Alaska Senate race

In what is likely a disappointment, the NRA has chosen not to endorse U.S. Sen. Mark Begich, even though he has a 100 percent legislative record on gun rights and has bucked his party when voting on gun restrictions. Most recently Begich did so amid huge pressure from his party, the president, gun restriction advocates and weeping mothers when he voted against a bill that would ban assault rifles and tighten up background checks. He was one of four Democrats to do so.

The NRA said it chose not to endorse Begich because of his votes for Supreme Court Justices Elena Kagan and Sonia Sotomayor, both of whom the NRA opposed.

The group gave Begich an “A minus” rating, and GOP candidate Dan Sullivan an “A q” rating, the “q” standing for “qualified” because although he filled out the group’s questionnaire to their satisfaction, Sullivan doesn’t yet have a legislative record.

Referring to attacks on Begich by Sullivan on Begich’s gun record, Ed Kilgore with the Washington Monthly wrote that voting pro-gun isn’t giving Democrats like Begich cover. “(N)o one should be under any illusion that defensive voting on individual issues will provide any significant political protection these days,” he said even before the NRA announced that it wasn’t endorsing Begich.


10 thoughts on “NRA decides not to endorse in Alaska Senate race

  1. Samuel Abney

    Begich has always been very pro-gun while on the Assembly and in the mayor’s office. Check your facts. He’s had a conceal carry permit for years.

    Nothing like blind, facist, neo-con hackism……

  2. LysanderSpooner

    Yeah, God forbid that any politician vote to support something that 91 percent of Americans are in favor of because a deep-pocketed special interest group is opposed to. Pretty elitist, too, of those in that 9 percent minority to be carrying on like they’re in the right on background checks.

  3. Garand Fellow

    Statements without a comparison are as useless as ….well, I won’t say. But several times in my lifetime only the NRA has stood between free and unfettered ownership of firearms we have in Alaska and in most of the US, and the gun confiscation that has taken place in Canada, Australia, Chicago, NYC, and more recently the states of CT, CA and NY. Yes we can say in English, German and even Greek what we will do when they come for them, and I think that many Americans of a certain age really would choose to go out that way (later, at the homes of the confiscators), but having the freedom we have today seems far more practical. Every gun owner should support the NRA, and every law-abiding American should own a gun! You can see on the news any day you want the consequences of not owning a gun, and you need only drive into Canada to see the consequences of not having the NRA.

  4. Andy

    I thought Dan was a big part of the supreme court case to defend gun rights? That’s what Dan’s been saying all along.

    If you need a legislative record to get out of the Aq category how did Joe and Mead get an A+ during the Primary? Neither one of them had legislative records and they seemed just fine. I love your site Amanda but I don’t think you got the full story here.

    Why wasn’t Dan endorsed if he was such a big part of the Chicago case like he said. I feel that questioning why Dan wasn’t endorsed would be a far more news-worthy subject matter than the NRA not endorsing a democrat; We all knew that they wouldn’t endorse Mark with his voting of liberal judges.

  5. Dan Fagan

    The NRA is useless as an organization. We are one Supreme Court Justice away from losing our gun rights. And you can be guaranteed if Begich is re-elected he will vote to confirm any Supreme Court Justice Obama puts up regardless of how anti-gun rights that justice is. NRA=useless!

  6. AK Politico

    Yes, Senator Begich voted against the background check bill in 2013. However, I disagree that it was bucking his party. Senator Begich voted no because the Democrats did not have the votes for passage and Sen Reid wants to keep his majority.

    If you look at the vote itself, it required 60 votes for passage. The final roll call was 54-46. and included the four democrats alluded to above (all up for re-election this fall in red states) and Majority Leader Reid (which allowed him to raise the bill at a later date). Even if all five had voted yes, the bill would have failed, 59-41. When Sen Reid realized he did not have the votes to pass the bill, he released the four democrats to vote no.

    An interesting comparison can be seen with the Affordable Care Act. When Sen Reid needed Sen. Begich’s vote to pass the bill, Sen Begich defied his constituents and voted for the bill. If Sen Reid would have had one more vote on the background check bill, I imagine Sen Begich would have been in the yes column.

    It is also very possible Sen Reid set the bill up to fail, so Sen Begich and the other democrats could “make a hard vote” and “go against their party” to show their constituents how they pushed back against Sen Reid and President Obama. However, I doubt Sen. Reid would approve such actions so far removed from an election. See again, the Affordable Care Act.

  7. Garand Fellow

    I am pleased. I think this is a wise decision, and it is fair. Of all the professional, fraternal, religious, political and recreational organizations of which I am or have in the past been a member the NRA is the most reliable by far, and the NRA has never let me down. I am sure Afghan Dan will be reliable, and an outstanding senator for Alaska.

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