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Helmut Schmidt, Published October 11 2012

Gun groups split North Dakota political loyalties

FARGO – The North Dakota U.S. House race has attracted dueling endorsements from the pro-gun lobby.

Pam Gulleson, the Democratic candidate, was recently endorsed by the National Rifle Association.

Meanwhile, Republican Kevin Cramer has picked up the backing of the Gun Owners of America, a more hard-line group on Second Amendment issues.

Gulleson, who from 1993 to 2009 represented District 26 in the state House, received an “A” rating for her voting record and stance on gun-rights and Second Amendment issues, the NRA’s Political Victory Fund website states.

Public Service Commission member Cramer received an AQ rating from the NRA.

AQ means a candidate is recognized as “pro-gun” according to an NRA-PVF survey. But, it also indicates the group believes the candidate doesn’t have a voting record on Second Amendment issues.

Cramer’s website touts the endorsement by the Gun Owners of America Political Victory Fund.

GOA-PVF gave Gulleson no rating and said on its website that she is “careful to conceal” her views on gun rights and did not answer their questionnaire.

GOA regularly differs with the NRA on endorsements and politician ratings, accusing the older group of being too soft on Second Amendment issues.

The NRA is backing Republican Senate candidate U.S. Rep. Rick Berg, giving him an “A” rating, while tagging his Democratic opponent Heidi Heitkamp with an “AQ” rating.

Berg also received GOA backing. Heitkamp was given no rating.

North Dakota Republican Gov. Jack Dalrymple and lieutenant governor Drew Wrigley also earned the NRA nod with an “A” rating. Their Democratic opponents, Ryan Taylor and Ellen Chaffee, were given a “B-minus” rating, indicating they are generally pro-gun, but may have opposed pro-gun reforms or supported gun restrictions.

The GOA has not offered endorsements in the gubernatorial race.

The NRA took pains to explain its backing for Gulleson, adding an online note laying out seven points that tipped the scales in her favor.

“I’m proud to have received the endorsement from the National Rifle Association and look forward to working with the NRA as a member of Congress to protect gun-owners,” Gulleson said on her website.


On the web: www.nrapvf.org

Readers can reach Forum reporter Helmut Schmidt at (701) 241-5583

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