Wednesday, August 4, 2004

NRA gives endorsement to Geoff Davis

By Patrick Crowley
Enquirer staff writer

ERLANGER - Republican Geoff Davis has received the endorsement of the National Rifle Association in his 4th Congressional District race against Democrat Nick Clooney.

The NRA endorsement came with a $3,500 campaign contribution to Davis from the NRA Political Victory Fund, a political arm of the NRA.

The backing of the firearms advocacy group is a coup in the sprawling, 24-county 4th District, where gun ownership and support of the Second Amendment right to bear arms are considered significant issues.

"I am proud of this endorsement," Davis, a Boone County business consultant, said. "As a shooting sports enthusiast and a life member of the NRA, I am committed to ensuring that our Second Amendment rights are protected.

"This is an important issue to Kentuckians," he said. "In Congress I will work hard to protect and enforce the Constitution, and I will fight any attempts to limit our constitutional rights to keep and own firearms."

In transcripts of a letter released by the Davis campaign, NRA Director of Federal Affairs Chuck Cunningham said Davis' "advocacy of Second Amendment has earned your campaign the support of the" NRA.

Clooney has tried to reassure voters that he will not promote laws restricting the use of firearms and will support the Second Amendment.

His stance on the issue came up last week during a town hall meeting his campaign staged at the Bellevue Veterans Club, when an audience member asked Clooney his position on gun control.

"If you own a legal weapon and you are a law-abiding citizen, you don't hear anything from the government," Clooney said.

A top Clooney political adviser said there is little difference in where the candidates stand on the issue.

"Nick Clooney supports vehemently the Second Amendment and would vote against any new federal gun restrictions," said Bob Doyle, Clooney's Washington-based campaign consultant. "Nick also believes that ... U.S. attorneys need to do a better job prosecuting existing gun crimes.

"We're taking those points to the voters," Doyle said. "The (endorsement's) impact on the race will be negligible because of the response Nick Clooney has to the community. There are issues we are going to disagree on, but this is not one of them."

Doyle pointed out that U.S. Rep. Ken Lucas, a Boone County Democrat not seeking a fourth term representing the 4th District, was endorsed by the NRA in 2000.

Doyle also hinted that the NRA leans toward endorsing Republicans over Democrats.

"We're not attacking the NRA," he said.

"They made a choice. But there is no doubt that once elected (Clooney) will get their endorsement every time we run for re-election."


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