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Dear MSSA Friends,Several people have contacted me asking why MSSA didn’t endorse Candidate X for the upcoming Primary.  Here’s why.

The purpose of MSSA Primary endorsements is to inform Montana gun owners that there is a contested Primary in this particular race, AND that there is a specific candidate who is identified and recommended as the best candidate.  In order for MSSA to endorse a candidate in a contested Primary, we want to see a two-letter grade separation between candidates – an A-rated candidate versus a C, or a B versus a D.  Without that separation, there is not a stark enough difference for MSSA to make the call.

The typical example where we do no endorsement is an incumbent with an excellent voting record that MSSA tracked in a legislative session (on votes of interest to MSSA) versus a challenger who returned a great candidate questionnaire.  MSSA cannot, in good faith, declare that one candidate is unequivocally better than the other, so we do no endorsement.  Another example is two or more candidates for an open seat (no incumbent of that party running), in which contenders returned candidate questionnaires with similar answers and scores, or none returned a candidate questionnaire.  In those races, we cannot honestly tell voting gun owners, “Here is the best candidate.”

Note, this is unlike some gun groups who will endorse a candidate only because the candidate is most likely to get elected, and the group seeks to curry favor with the candidate.

In rare instances, such as with two good candidates and one squish, MSSA may do a co-endorsement in a particular race (wait to see my upcoming email about non-legislative races).

So, these factors, and races for which we have no reliable information about candidates, explain why MSSA does Primary endorsements in only a limited number of races.  Plus, because MSSA has long held to a high and reliable standard for endorsements, our endorsements are especially valuable to candidates and to voting gun owners.

I hope this answers some questions.

Best wishes,

Gary Marbut

President, Montana Shooting Sports Association

By mssa