Gov. Paul LePage tomorrow will receive the endorsement of the NRA and several other guns-rights advocates under the umbrella of the “Sportsmen for LePage Coalition” at a news conference in Hermon.
LePage will be joined by Coalition chairman Jeff Zimba, National Rifle Association’s Maine liaison John Hohenwarter, Todd Tolhurst from the nonprofit group Gun Owners of Maine, and Blaine Anthony, former host of Sportsman Channel’s “The Bear Whisperer.”
The NRA announced its support for LePage late in September: “As Governor, Paul LePage has been an outspoken defender of the Second Amendment and hunting rights in Maine,” said Chris W. Cox, chairman of the NRA’s PAC, in a news release. “He vetoed anti-gun legislation that would have restricted our right to keep and bear arms and is leading the charge to defeat the current ‘anti-bear hunting’ ballot question.”
LePage will be joined by 2nd Congressional District candidate Bruce Poliquin, whose endorsement by the NRA was announced earlier this week. Poliquin had been criticized by his primary opponent, Kevin Raye, for contributing to a gun control group in the past, but has touted his support for gun ownership and the NRA.
The NRA is a powerful lobbying force in Augusta, but expenditures through its PAC this election cycle have been relatively small — $526 in independent expenditures to support incumbent Democratic Sen. John Tuttle, D-Sanford; $125 each in direct contributions to Republican incumbent Reps. Larry Lockman of Amherst and Richard Malaby of Hancock; and $250 in a direct contribution to Sen. David Burns, R-Whiting.
The NRA Political Victory Fund’s largest contribution, though, was to a leadership PAC run by incumbent Sen. Andre Cushing, R-Hampden. Cushing’s PAC, called “Respect Maine,” has received $2,500 from the NRA.