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Politics Northwest

The Seattle Times political team explores national, state and local politics.

September 24, 2014 at 11:41 AM

NRA endorses Newhouse; Didier asks ‘who got to them?’

The National Rifle Association is boosting Dan Newhouse in Central Washington’s 4th Congressional District race, endorsing him over fellow Republican Clint Didier.

NRA Chairman Chris W. Cox praised Newhouse, a former state legislator, for opposing “all attempts to ban lawfully owned firearms and magazines” and said he “stood strong against President Obama and former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s gun control agenda,” according to a statement released by the Newhouse campaign.

You could almost see the steam rising from the Twitter feed of Didier, the Eltopia farmer and former NFL player who has tried to position himself as the only true conservative in the race.

Didier’s campaign also pointed to a primary election debate in which Newhouse said he supports keeping guns out of the hands of people who have been committed for mental illness.

Before the August primary, Didier’s campaign gave away three guns — a two Ruger 2300 LC9 pistols and a DB-15 S rifle — in a drawing to attract Facebook and Twitter followers. He has also touted his endorsement from the National Association for Gun Rights, a smaller gun-rights organization.

But Newhouse has flashed his 2nd Amendment cred too — vowing to “protect gun rights” in an obligatory TV ad showing him walking near an orchard while carrying a rifle. He opposes Initiative 594, on this year’s ballot, which would close the so-called “gun show loophole” and ensure all gun sales in the state are subject to background checks.

Newhouse said in a statement he welcomed the NRA’s “very important endorsement” which “demonstrates their belief that I am best qualified to represent Central Washington and protect the right to keep and bear arms.”

Didier and Newhouse are facing off in the first Republican vs. Republican Congressional race in state history, thanks to our Top Two primary system which sends the top primary vote-getters to the general election regardless of party.

The NRA nod is just another in a long list of endorsements for Newhouse, a Yakima farmer who served in the state legislature and ran the state agriculture department under Democratic Gov. Chris Gregoire. Retiring U.S. Rep. Doc Hastings has endorsed Newhouse to succeed him, as have a host of GOP officials and organizations.

Didier has boasted of his own endorsements from some conservative political heroes including Republican vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin and former Texas Congressman Ron Paul.

Comments | More in 2014 elections, Congressional races | Topics: 4th Congressional District, Clint Didier, Dan Newhouse

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