The National Rifle Association threw its weight behind Republican gubernatorial candidate Ed Gillespie on Thursday as he takes on Democrat Ralph Northam in Virginia. The gun and civil rights organization also endorsed Jill Vogel for lieutenant governor and John Adams for attorney general.
"The 2017 election will be pivotal in preserving Virginians’ Second Amendment rights,” NRA Political Victory Fund Chairman Chris W. Cox said in a statement. “We must elect a pro-Second Amendment governor who will end the McAuliffe-Herring era of hostility toward law-abiding gun owners. Gillespie is a strong supporter of our constitutional rights who will stand up to Michael Bloomberg and his out-of-state gun control groups. Gillespie is a leader in the growing national movement to expand our Second Amendment freedoms.”
Gillespie ran for the U.S. Senate against incumbent Democrat Senator Mark Warner in 2014, losing by just a few thousand votes. The NRA has given Gillespie an "A" rating for his support of the Second Amendment over the years.
If Gillespie is successful in winning the race, he will flip the Virginia governors mansion from blue to red. It is currently occupied by Democrat Governor Terry McAuliffe, whose term ends in November. McAuliffe has earned an "F" rating from the NRA and is a close friend to the Clintons.
"The team of Gillespie, Vogel, and Adams will ensure that law-abiding Virginians have the ability to protect and defend themselves,” Cox continued. “We need to elect leaders in the Commonwealth who will support our rights. Voters need to send Bloomberg a strong, clear message -- that his gun control agenda is not welcome in Virginia.”