The National Rifle Association is bestowing its influential endorsement on Congresswoman Betsy Markey, according to the National Review. That surely comes as a shot to the chest for Markey’s Fourth District opponent, Republican Cory Gardner. Markey is a proud “blue dog” Democrat who supports broad gun rights. She is the second Democratic congressional incumbent from Colorado to receive the NRA’s support. Third District blue dog Democratic Rep. John Salazar also won the group’s support.
The Gardner campaign was clearly seeking out NRA support. Indeed, news of the Markey endorsement was broke by Gardner Campaign Manager Chris Hansen, who told the National Review that the NRA told him they would be supporting Markey. It hasn’t been a good week for the Gardner campaign.
Wednesday brought news that Markey pulled down a key election-season award from the National Farmers Union, a labor group whose members include and have included Gardner, who is from Yuma, and many generations of his longtime tractor-selling and Democratic Party-voting family, including Gardner’s daddy and Granddaddy, as he puts it. The NFU likes Markey because she is for local farming and renewable energy, which includes ethanol.
On the stump during the primary, Gardner fended off charges from his Republican rivals that he supported “anti-market” subsidies for corn- and switch-grass-growing ethanol farmers.
This year Markey has been unabashed in her support for gun rights and cast a crucial vote in favor of the DISCLOSE Act, which effectively exempts the NRA from disclosing donors.
Gardner is one of the National Republican Congressional Committee’s “Young Guns”– swing-district candidates who have been marked out to receive special national support and funding in their campaigns. The program was founded during the 2008 election cycle by Reps. Eric Cantor, R-Va., Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., and Paul Ryan, R-Wisc. The three founders have published a “Young Gun” manifesto with a strutting video that includes fleeting reference to Gardner as one of the “common sense conservatives” running for office around the country that the group endorses.
Analysts have written that the Young Gun movement’s support of the so-called “Ryan Roadmap” proposed by the Wisconsin Congressman is a recipe for disaster, that Ryan’s plan would slash government revenue with tax breaks but includes no legitimate strategy to make up the losses, that the it is policy that would deliver less services and a greater budget deficit, that it is, in other words, a hyper version of the kind of not-conservative Reagan and Bush spending policies that put the nation into debt.