Montana Shooting Sports Association

2020 Candidate Grades and Endorsements

Please recirculate

(for the General Election, November 3, 2020)

A-F = Letter grade
Bold/E = Endorsed by MSSA

Candidate (Party) - Grade

    Federal Offices

U.S. Senate

Steve Daines (R) - AE
Steve Bullock (D) - F
Wendie Fredrickson (G) - ?

U.S. House of Representatives

Matt Rosendale (R) - AE
John Gibney (G) - ?
Kathleen Williams (D) - F

    State Offices

Governor and Lieutenant Governor

Greg Gianforte & Kristen Juras (R) - AE
Mike Cooney & Casey Schreiner (D) - ?
Robert Barb & Joshua Thomas (G) - ?
Lyman Bishop & John Nesper (L) - A

Attorney General
Austin Knudsen (R) - AE
Ralph Graybill (D) - ?
Roy Davis (G) - A

    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 15 different votes for 100 members of the House in the 2019 session.  That's 1,500 pieces of data to track.  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 2020 Candidate Questionnaire (CQ) has 13 questions for a candidate to answer with any one of five answers.  That times the 185 candidates just for the House in the General Election is another potential 12,205 bits of data to receive, store, and collate.

If a candidate returned MSSA's 2018 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 declined to 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.  These are especially dedicated and proven supporters of the RKBA.  Endorsed candidates are in Bold.

Note:  MSSA does not endorse candidates who have no challenger and therefore no contest in the General Election.  An endorsement declares that one candidate will better represent gun owners than other candidates in the same race.  If there are no other candidates and no race, no endorsement.

Further note:  Of the 242 candidates seeking the 125 seats up for grabs in the 2019 Legislature, MSSA has endorsed 56 Republicans and no Democrats.  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.