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June 24, 2010 12:14 PM
By Reid Wilson
The NRA will support AZ Gov. Jan Brewer's election bid, the group announced today, bypassing a member of the group's own board of directors.
Brewer is running for a full term this year after replacing Janet Napolitano (D), who left to serve in Pres. Obama's cabinet. One of Brewer's primary rivals is Owen "Buz" Mills (R), a member of the NRA's board.
Brewer received an A+ rating from the NRA, and Chris Cox, the group's chief lobbyist, called her "a champion and strong defender of the Second Amendment freedoms of law-abiding Arizona gun owners, hunters and sportsmen."
Andrew Arulanandam, a spokesman for the NRA, said the group's endorsement of Brewer shouldn't take away from Mills' record as a board member.
"Buz is a friend. He's a member of our board of directors and he's a strong supporter of the Second Amendment. We sent him a letter to that effect," Arulanandam said. "This is about Gov. Brewer's lifelong support for the NRA in her capacity as a legislator and the state's chief executive."
The NRA also has a policy of endorsing pro-gun incumbents, Arulanandam said, giving Brewer the edge over Mills.
Indeed, so far the group has backed mostly incumbent officeholders, including Sen. John McCain (R-AZ), OH Gov. Ted Strickland (D), ID Gov. Butch Otter (R) and Reps. Travis Childers (D-MS), Bob Inglis (R-SC) and Dan Boren (D-OK). The NRA has not endorsed against any incumbents so far this year.
Brewer has built a big lead after a vociferous defense of her state's harsh new anti-illegal immigration law. But Mills, who has not held elected office before, is no slouch.
The latest Research 2000 poll, conducted for the liberal DailyKos blog, showed Brewer leading with 32%, followed by Mills with 14% and Treas. Dean Martin (R) with 13%. That survey, conducted May 3-5, tested 400 GOP primary voters for a margin of error of +/- 4.9%.
"I ain't got time to bleed!"
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