Montana Shooting Sports Association
Primary Election, 2018
Grades and Endorsements

Explanation:  The grades and endorsements made below are limited to races in which there is a Primary Election contest, and where MSSA has either or both a voting record for the candidate and/or a returned MSSA Candidate Questionnaire.  Just for information purposes, Primary contest races are also listed in which there is no information about candidates - no incumbent voting record and no returned Candidate Questionnaire (indicated by a question mark - "?").

For any candidate for whom a grade is based on a Candidate Questionnaire rather than a voting record, the letter grade is followed by a "Q".  Just for the record, MSSA considers a voting record to be a much more reliable indicator of a candidate's future performance on Right to Keep and Bear Arms issues than a Candidate Questionnaire.  A "+" after a candidate's letter grade indicates that the candidate has carried a bill for MSSA.

Also, just for the reader's information, MSSA probably has over 100 hours of volunteer time invested in making these grades and endorsements available - collecting voting records on selected firearm-related issues before the Legislature and archiving that data, formatting and distributing Candidate Questionnaires to candidates, receiving returned Questionnaires and tabulating and archiving that data, and comparing all of the information received to establish grades and endorsements.  MSSA compares notes with the NRA about available candidate information, but MSSA makes its own grading and endorsement decisions independent of the NRA.  Because these races are important to the candidates and to the people of Montana, and because MSSA's grades and endorsements are highly valued, MSSA makes extensive efforts to ensure that candidates are properly credited with accurate information.

Usually, MSSA requires a two-letter separation of candidate grades before making an endorsement, such as an A and a C, or a B and a D.  MSSA rarely endorses a candidate who has less than a B grade.

Races for Congress:  In the Republican Primary for the U.S. Senate seat, MSSA considers all four candidates to be A-rated and makes no endorsement.  In the Democrat Primary for Montana's lone seat in the U.S. House, MSSA received no Candidate Questionnaires, so MSSA offers no grades or endorsement.

Other races:  MSSA typically does not evaluate candidates for and takes no position on races that have little or no impact on the Right to Keep and Bear Arms, such as for the Public Service Commission (even though long-time MSSA Director Randy Pinocci is in that particular Primary race).  MSSA also does not dig into county-level or city-level races, simply because MSSA lacks the volunteer and administrative capacity to assume that workload.

Legislative races:  Here is MSSA's analysis of Primary Election contests for the Montana Legislature, the Montana Senate ("SD" Senate District) and the Montana House of Representatives ("HD" House District).