Michels’ campaign says it was an unintentional error.
Tim Michels’ campaign sent voters a direct mail piece that falsely claims he received the endorsement of the NRA, Wisconsin Right Now has documented.
We asked Michels’ campaign about this. They sent us this statement:
“There was an error in a mailer we sent out but it was unintentional and it has been immediately corrected for all future communications. As a lifetime NRA member, hunter, and staunch supporter of the Second Amendment, Tim received the highest rating possible for a non-elected official. Our direct mail shouldn’t have indicated that rating was an ‘endorsement,’ and subsequent communications will describe his ‘AQ rating’ from the NRA. Too many people and shady organizations have been lying about him and his position on issues, it’s imperative that we set the record straight.”
Three readers contacted us about the piece of direct mail they received from the Tim Michels campaign over the weekend of July 17, 2022. It states twice that he was endorsed by the NRA. The direct mail was paid for by Michels for Governor, Inc.
Two of the readers wanted to know if it was true, and one claimed it wasn’t, so we decided to check it out. Was Michels endorsed by the NRA, as he claims in the direct mail piece?
The answer is no, according to the NRA.
We contacted the national NRA press office on July 17 and were given this response, from Scott Jones, NRA Wisconsin state director: “The NRA Political Victory Fund (NRA-PVF) has not made any endorsements for the 2022 Wisconsin gubernatorial primary.”
After this story ran, the NRA posted a statement on its website headlined, “NRA Sets the Record Straight in Wisconsin Gubernatorial Primary Election.”
It reads, “Dear Wisconsin NRA Member: Republican primary voters in Wisconsin may have recently received a mail piece from the Tim Michels campaign claiming the candidate had secured an Endorsement from NRA’s Institute for Legislative Action (NRA-ILA) – this is NOT an accurate piece of mail. The fact is that Tim Michels has been issued an “AQ” rating by the NRA’s Political Victory Fund (NRA-PVF) and no endorsement has been issued in the GOP primary election for governor taking place on Tuesday, August 9th.”
The NRA continued, “Our constitutional rights are at stake this and every election cycle – and we take protection of those rights very seriously. Our ratings system is designed to inform you, the member, on where candidates stand on issues affecting your Second Amendment rights. Misrepresenting our ratings or our position in any election contest does a disservice to you and all our members, as well as other gun owners to whom protection of their liberty and firearm freedoms is a factor in how they vote.”
As they note, Michels’ flyer says he was endorsed by the “NRA-ILA,” however the NRA told us that the NRA-ILA doesn’t make endorsements ever; the NRA-PVF does, and it has not made an endorsement in the Wisconsin governor’s primary, as noted.
“All grades and endorsements go through NRA-PVF,” the NRA told Wisconsin Right Now.
Conservative voters care about gun rights and NRA endorsements so we felt that readers had a right to know this information.
Although it hasn’t endorsed him, the NRA has given Michels an AQ grade, according to its website. Rebecca Kleefisch and Timothy Ramthun received “A” grades from the NRA, and Adam Fischer was listed as a question mark.
What is an AQ grade? “A pro-gun candidate whose rating is based solely on the candidate’s responses to the NRA-PVF Candidate Questionnaire and who does not have a voting record on Second Amendment issues,” the NRA says.
What is an A grade? “Solidly pro-gun candidate. A candidate who has supported NRA positions on key votes in elective office or a candidate with a demonstrated record of support on Second Amendment issues,” according to NRA.
NRA-PVF explains, “The NRA Political Victory Fund (NRA-PVF) is NRA’s political action committee. The NRA-PVF ranks political candidates – irrespective of party affiliation – based on voting records, public statements and their responses to an NRA-PVF questionnaire.”