The National Rifle Association endorsed Rep. Zack Space (D-Ohio) for re-election today, giving the freshman congressman key credibility among gun owners as he runs for re-election in a largely rural and solidly Republican district.
"During just my first term in Congress, the NRA and I have already forged a strong working relationship as we both seek to protect the gun owners and sportsmen in the 18th Congressional District,” said Space in a statement.
“We are both committed to preserving the constitutional rights of gun owners and sportsmen everywhere as we work to end the continual whittling away of the Second Amendment by those opposed to gun ownership."
Republicans have had trouble recruiting credible candidates to challenge Space, despite the district’s Republican tilt. The four Republican candidates who have filed for the state’s March 4 primary have hardly raised any money in preparation for the campaign.
Space won election to Congress, fueled by voters’ disgust with the indictment of his predecessor, GOP Rep. Bob Ney. But Republicans had hoped that the district would return to its Republican roots, given the fact President Bush won 57 percent of the vote in 2004.
The NRA’s endorsement suggests that prospect for Republicans is increasingly unlikely, and that Space’s long-term prospects of holding the seat may be better than even he once expected.