In the world of pro-gun candidates, the one entity you generally don’t want to piss off is the National Rifle Association. While many gun rights supporters may not be members of the group, most use the organization to vet candidates on their support for the Second Amendment. Earning the ire of the group that can send a lot of votes your way is probably not wise.
However, a Florida candidate agriculture commission managed to cross the group despite having already landed their endorsement.
An NRA-endorsed candidate for agriculture commissioner is “retooling” an ad after the gun-rights group said he made a “mistake” in assigning a failing grade to a primary opponent.
Marion Hammer, the National Rifle Association’s longtime Florida lobbyist, requested that the endorsed candidate, Matt Caldwell, apologize for the ad against Republican primary opponent Denise Grimsley.
Despite Hammer’s request, Caldwell, a state House member from North Fort Myers, issued a statement that adopted a less-conciliatory tone and continued to pound Grimsley’s gun-rights voting record.
Caldwell’s campaign recently sent out a print ad that assigned to Grimsley a “D” grade for 2016 that appeared to be from the NRA. But the gun-rights group, which grades candidates on how they vote on Second Amendment issues, actually gave Grimsley, a state senator from Sebring, a grade of “B” that year, according to Hammer.
The ad and Monday’s statement from Caldwell drew rebukes from Grimsley’s campaign. Hammer repeatedly described the ad copy as a “mistake.”
“It’s clearly a mistake,” Hammer said. “And I would certainly hope that Matt Caldwell, the candidate we have endorsed, would admit that it was a mistake and apologize to her and move on. That’s the professional thing to do.”
Hammer declined to comment further after Caldwell issued a statement that continued to question Grimsley’s record on gun issues.
“In order to avoid confusion, I asked my team to retool the ad this weekend, but we will not back down from the clear contrast between ourselves and our opponents when it comes to defending the Second Amendment,” Caldwell said in the statement.
Oddly enough, this appears to be the same ad that Facebook blocked on their platform last month. Of course, Facebook didn’t block it because the information was erroneous or anything. They just didn’t like Caldwell’s pro-gun stance.
Caldwell’s opponent was less understanding, accusing the state rep of outright lying in the ad, though I’m with Hammer. I don’t see this being something you just make up and hope no one looks. Frankly, the ad has been out long enough that Grimsley should probably have countered that error loudly before.
Unless, of course, she doesn’t want people to know she has a “B” grade from the NRA.
Sure, now that it’s a thing, she’ll use this situation to try and bludgeon Caldwell, but it sounds like she didn’t want to tout her relatively high grade from the NRA. Why is that? Could it be the anti-gun bias running rampant within the Democratic party at the moment?
Look, Caldwell was wrong and needs to fix the mistake.
However, it seems clear that Grimsley, despite the relatively high grade, isn’t exactly a friend of the Second Amendment.