BILLINGS – The National Rifle Association has endorsed Montana’s Democratic governor, Brian Schweitzer, as he seeks re-election to a second term.
NRA Vice President Wayne LaPierre said Tuesday that his organization’s backing reflects the governor’s support of gun rights and laws to preserve fishing and hunting access.
Schweitzer’s Republican opponent, Roy Brown, also has been an advocate of gun rights during his years in the state Legislature. The state senator from Billings received an “A” grade from the NRA during elections in 2002 and 2006.
Randy Kozuch, director of the NRA’s state and local affairs division, said in races with multiple gun-friendly candidates, the endorsement goes to the incumbent.
During Schweitzer’s first gubernatorial run, in 2004, the NRA backed his opponent, Republican Bob Brown. Both candidates got high marks from the NRA that year, but Schweitzer at the time lacked a voting record on which to base an endorsement.
At an event Tuesday in Billings where he received the NRA endorsement, Schweitzer referred to gun ownership in Montana as “a family value” that passes down through the generations. He also pledged to maintain fishing access on the state’s streams as long as he is in office.
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