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
Mike Fellows(L) - ?
Denise Juneau(D) - ?
Ryan Zinke(R) - B
Governor of Montana
Greg Gianforte(R) - AE
Steve Bullock(D) - F
Ted Dunlap(L) - ?
Tim Fox(R) - AE
Larry Jent(D) - F
Montana Supreme Court
Kristen Juras - AE
Dirk Sandefur - ?
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.