Montana Shooting Sports Association

2016 Candidate Grades and Endorsements

(for the General Election, November 8, 2016)

A-F = Letter grade
Bold/E = Endorsed by MSSA
? = No information about candidate  (No Candidate Questionnaire returned and no voting record)

Candidate - Grade

U.S. House

Mike Fellows(L) - ?
Denise Juneau(D) - ?
Ryan Zinke(R) - B

Governor of Montana

Greg Gianforte(R) - AE
Steve Bullock(D) - F
Ted Dunlap(L) - ?

Attorney General

Tim Fox(R) - AE
Larry Jent(D) - F

Montana Supreme Court

Kristen Juras - AE   
Dirk Sandefur - ?

Montana Legislature

Explanation about legislative candidate grades and endorsements (please read):  A HUGE amount of information goes into compiling these grades and endorsements.  MSSA tracks legislative votes on gun-related bills before the Legislature.  For example, MSSA tracked 21 different votes for 100 members of the House in the 2015 session.  That's 2,100 pieces of data to use.  So, when an incumbent candidate is graded, know that this is from hard data and historic performance.  Votes cast are highly relevant and dependable as a litmus of a candidate's RKBA performance and attitude.  It also means that the candidate is an incumbent (usual) or has served in the Legislature before (so we have a voting record).  MSSA's 2016 Candidate Questionnaire has 14 questions for a candidate to answer.  That times the 188 candidates just for the House in the General Election is another potential 2,632 bits of data to receive, store, and collate.  If a candidate returned MSSA's 2016 Candidate Questionnaire but has not served in the Legislature (if the candidate has a voting record, we consider votes cast to be a more reliable litmus and use that), then the candidate is graded based on that CQ.  Many candidates (especially Democrats) are advised by others to NOT complete or return MSSA's CQ, which is why the reader will see so many candidates with a "?" rather than a grade.  These candidates have no voting record and no CQ on file with MSSA.  It is MSSA's position that these candidates are likely hostile to the RKBA, which is why they didn't return MSSA's CQ.  Rarely, MSSA will grade a candidate with another basis.  That's because MSSA has some other source if information about the candidate than a voting record or CQ.  MSSA does compare notes extensively with the NRA during the process of working up these grades and endorsements, although MSSA and the NRA don't always agree on appropriate grades (MSSA tends to be less forgiving of anti-gun votes).  For those few candidates who have a "+" after an "A" grade, that is because MSSA reserves the A+ only for legislators who have carried bills for MSSA.  Endorsed candidates are in Bold.

Further note:  Of the 235 candidates seeking the 125 seats up for grabs in the 2015 Legislature, MSSA has endorsed 13 Republicans, no Libertarian, and no Democrat for the Senate.  For the House, MSSA has endorsed 51 Republicans, one Libertarian, and no Democrats.  Thus, MSSA has reason to endorse candidates in about half of the races for legislative seats.  Unfortunately, MSSA could not endorse any Democrats, either because incumbents had poor voting records or because new candidates chose to not return MSSA's Candidate Questionnaire (or, rarely, did return MSSA's CQ but did not score well).  Honestly, MSSA would love to be able to endorse some Democrats.  However, we won't do that gratuitously.  To earn MSSA's endorsement, incumbents must vote for pro-gun bills and new candidates must return a good CQ.

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