In a new threat to Senate Democratic leaders trying to harness members in opposition to the Supreme Court nomination of Neil Gorsuch, the influential National Rifle Association has leveled the threat that it will make sure members know who votes for — and against — the conservative judge they've endorsed.
In what in Washington is called "scoring," the NRA's lobbying shop said that it will include the Gorsuch vote on election scorecards that members use for voter education and that the Second Amendment group uses to determine who to support and fight in elections.
In a letter to Senate leaders and provided to Secrets, Chris W. Cox, the executive directof of the NRA Institute for Legislative Action, said, "The NRA has every confidence that Judge Gorsuch will protect the Second Amendment rights of law abiding gun owners and will faithfully apply the Constitution in the cases that come before him. He has our strongest support for confirmation.
And he added, "Because of the importance of this issue to NRA members and gun owners throughout the country, votes on his confirmation will be considered in future candidate evaluations and we will notify our members accordingly."
Those scorecards are critical to a handful of Democrats in conservative states up for reelection, such as Montana's Jon Tester, North Dakota's Heidi Heitkamp and Indiana's Joe Donnelly.
They are already on the NRA's black list for voting against Jeff Sessions for attorney general.
The full letter is below.
Paul Bedard, the Washington Examiner's "Washington Secrets" columnist, can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org