The National Rifle Association’s political action committee has endorsed Republican Paul LePage in Maine’s race for governor.
The association’s Political Victory Fund, based in Fairfax, Va., said that it had not endorsed a candidate for Maine governor in 20 years.
“Maine has a long record of strong firearm ownership and wildlife stewardship,” Chris W. Cox, the committee’s chairman and chief lobbyist for the rifle association, said in a statement. “It is time to elect a governor who will support gun owners, hunters and sportsmen in Maine.”
LePage’s press secretary, Dan Demeritt, said LePage owns a firearm and is a longtime NRA member.
Cox said LePage earned the endorsement “for his commitment to preserving our Second Amendment rights and hunting heritage” while mayor of Waterville.
According to NRA spokeswoman Alexa Fritts, LePage earned an “AQ” rating from the NRA, which means “this is a very pro-gun candidate whose rating is based on responses” to an NRA questionnaire, which is what the “Q” stands for.
Maine has the country’s highest firearms ownership per capita and among the lowest crime rate per capita, but “it has been consistently targeted on the national level by anti-gun and anti-hunting organizations,” according to the NRA.
Libby Mitchell, the Democratic nominee for governor, received a B- ranking from the NRA, according to Fritts.