Posted at: 10/10/2012 6:58 PM
By: Stuart Dyson, Eyewitness News 4
The National Rifle Association is wading into New Mexico's U.S. Senate race, endorsing Republican Heather Wilson over Democrat Martin Heinrich.
The NRA has a huge footprint in New Mexico, where hunting is a way of life and gun rights are gospel to many.
Wilson is a life member of the NRA with a 100 percent rating for her 10-year voting record in the House of Representatives.
Heinrich is an avid hunter and outdoorsman who's "A" rating from the NRA slipped to a "B" because of a couple of controversial votes in the House.
"We try to support and endorse people that will support our rights, and he has, but not consistently, but he has," said NRA President David Keene at a news conference at Calibers shooting range and gun store in Albuquerque. "In this race there was no choice. We've got somebody who's a hundred-percenter here!"
"It's not just about what you say, it's about what you do," Wilson said. "It's about standing up for 2nd Amendment rights of law-abiding adults to protect themselves and their families."
The NRA said Heinrich "broke faith" with gun owners in June when he voted against holding Attorney General Eric Holder in contempt for refusing to turn over documents on the "Fast and Furious" project, a notoriously misguided federal gun-running sting operation. The NRA also cited Heinrich's votes for several amendments it opposed on the "Sportsmen's Heritage Act of 2012".
Heinrich is a sponsor of the "Hunt Act" which would increase hunters' access to federal lands.
Heinrich's consolation: he's ahead of Wilson in every poll that comes down the pike. His average lead is about 10 percent, and he's over the magic 50-percent line in the most recent polls. That's where you win elections.
"The only poll that counts is the one on Election Day," Wilson pointed out at her news conference.
In New Mexico, Election Day is right now. Early voting is under way across the state. More than 60 percent of the state's voters are expected to cast their ballots before "old-fashioned" Election Day on Nov. 6.