The National Rifle Association Political Victory Fund has released endorsements in the upcoming Idaho primaries, and locally it is backing two state legislative incumbents and one challenger.
The fund is endorsing incumbent Reps. Pete Nielsen, R-Mountain Home, and Steve Hartgen, R-Twin Falls, plus Reggy Sternes, who is taking on Rep. Maxine Bell, R-Jerome, in the primary.
Nielsen is running against Megan Blanksma, who also got an A from the pro-gun rights group, and Justin Freeman, who didn't fill out the NRA's questionnaire. Mary Bello, who is running against Hartgen, also got an A from the NRA. Sternes got an A based on his answers, while the group gave the incumbent Bell a C-minus.
The NRA generally backs the incumbent if both the incumbent and challenger are equally pro-gun, which would appear to be the case with Nielsen/Blanksma and Hartgen/Bello. The website doesn't spell out the criteria used, but it's a safe bet that Bell's votes against permitless carry within city limits this year and against "campus carry" in 2014 were factors. Bell was one of the few Republicans to oppose these bills.
The NRA is endorsing Curt McKenzie for state Supreme Court, and Raul Labrador and Mike Simpson for re-election to Congress.
Early voting has already started, and Election Day is May 17.