Add the National Rifle Association to the groups that are putting money into the effort to elect the Alabama Republican Roy Moore to the United States Senate.
In the four weeks since allegations first surfaced that Moore had sexually assaulted, harassed, or otherwise pursued inappropriate relationships with teenage girls, the NRA has spent at least $54,000 on mailings opposing his Democratic opponent, Doug Jones. The gun group’s support of Moore was first reported in this tweet from Ashley Balcerzak of the Center for Public Integrity.
The NRA is throwing its weight behind Moore even as controversies mount for the Republican candidate. Nine women have credibly accused Moore of sexual misconduct against them, most of them while they were teenagers. He has waxed nostalgic for slavery and referred to Native Americans and Asians as “reds and yellows” — remarks made during a September campaign rally that resurfaced online this week. He has said homosexuality should be criminalized, and said he believes Muslims and women shouldn’t be allowed to serve in elective office.
Since the Washington Post first reported on November 9 about Moore’s history of alleged sexual predation, 11 other outside groups have spent more on the Alabama race than the NRA.
- Highway 31 PAC, which is dedicated to electing Doug Jones and spent $4.5 million both to support Jones and oppose Moore
- America First Action Inc., a Super PAC associated with President Donald Trump, which spent $1.1 million opposing Jones
- Great America Alliance, another Trump-aligned Super PAC, which spent $140,000 to support Moore
- And the Stand Up Republic, a group of anti-Trump conservatives, which spent $134,000 opposing Moore
The NRA quietly waded into the general election on Moore’s behalf after supporting his opponent in the primary, the incumbent Luther Strange, who had been appointed to fill the Senate seat vacated when Jeff Sessions became the country’s attorney general. The gun group spent $1.7 million on the Republican primary race.
The NRA has not rated Moore or Jones on its well-known letter-grade scale, and there’s no message endorsing Moore’s campaign on the NRA’s website.
The NRA may feel it has little choice in supporting Moore if it wants to deliver for its constituents. Right now, Republicans hold the Senate with only a two-seat majority, which means the party will have immense difficulty passing ambitious gun legislation like national reciprocity over a filibuster. Losing even just one seat to a Democrat would make the political math even tougher.