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NRA endorses Democrat Chris Koster in race for Missouri governor

Democrat Chris Koster, left, and Republican Eric Greitens face off this November in the race for Missouri governor.
Democrat Chris Koster, left, and Republican Eric Greitens face off this November in the race for Missouri governor.

Democrat Chris Koster won the endorsement of the National Rifle Association on Tuesday, adding to the growing list of traditionally Republican organizations that support his candidacy for Missouri governor.

The influential gun-rights group endorsed Koster just a few weeks after he became the first Democrat running for statwide office to ever win the endorsement of the Missouri Farm Bureau.

Koster, who until 2007 was a Republican, was endorsed by the NRA because his “long-standing support for Second Amendment-related issues and NRA members goes back over 17 years,” the group said.

The endorsement comes a little more than a week before state lawmakers return to Jefferson City to consider whether to override Gov. Jay Nixon’s veto of legislation eliminating the need to complete training and a background check before being legally able to carry a concealed gun in public.

Koster has said he supports the wide-ranging gun legislation, despite the fact that his party is trying to mobilize support to sustain Nixon’s veto and kill the bill.

The NRA endorsement is another disappointment for GOP nominee Eric Greitens. He was also snubbed by the state’s largest anti-abortion group — Missouri Right to Life. The organization endorsed every Republican in the four-way GOP primary except Greitens, and has said it likely won’t endorse either major party candidate this November.

Greiten’s campaign, which is traveling the state with Republican vice presidential nominee Mike Pence Tuesday, downplayed the Koster endorsements.

“We're not gonna win the career politician insider endorsement contest,” Austin Chambers, Greitens campaign manager, said in a statement. “But no one is stronger than Eric on 2nd amendment issues and no one will fight harder to grow jobs and clean up the same old politics as usual holding Missouri back.”

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