The National Rifle Association demanded Phil Bredesen, the Democratic nominee in the 2018 Tennessee Senate race, retract an ad touting an outdated rating from the organization.
"Phil Bredesen is a 'D' rated candidate, and he will not protect our constitutional rights in Washington, D.C.," Chris W. Cox, chairman of the NRA's Political Victory Fund, said in a statement. "Tennesseans should not be fooled by his false and misleading campaign ads."
The gun-rights group called on Bredesen to retract the ad he posted yesterday touting his A rating from his time as governor.
Real independence and not party politics — that’s what’s right for Tennessee. pic.twitter.com/BmyyvJGL2e
— Phil Bredesen (@PhilBredesen) September 19, 2018
"It's not 2002, you're not governor and you're not A-rated by the NRA," Cox tweeted at Bredesen in response to the ad. "It's 2018, you have earned a D rating for turning your back on self-defense and supporting the Hillary/Schumer/Bloomberg gun control agenda. @VoteMarsha is a 2A champion. You're not."
Cox finished the tweet with the hashtag "#stoplying." The Bredesen campaign did not immediately reply to a request for reaction to the NRA's comments.
The campaign of Bredesen's opponent, Republican Marsha Blackburn, didn't immediately respond to a request for comment. The Tennessee Republican Party, however, accused Bredesen of misleading voters.
"Phony Phil is caught talking out of both sides of his mouth once again, and the NRA is right to call out Bredesen for his false claims," Scott Golden, Tennessee Republican Party chairman, told the Washington Free Beacon. "Gun owners and all Tennesseans who care about our Second Amendment freedoms recognize that Marsha Blackburn is the only one in this race who will stand up to the national Democrats' radical anti-gun agenda."
The NRA announced on Wednesday they endorsed Blackburn. "Marsha Blackburn is the only candidate in this race who will defend our Second Amendment rights in Washington, D.C.," Cox said on Wednesday. "The NRA encourages all freedom-loving Tennesseans to vote Marsha Blackburn for Senate in November."
The group said on Thursday that Bredesen's ad reinforced their decision to endorse Blackburn.
"Bredesen will vote against Tennessee values in Washington," Cox said. "He will kowtow to the gun control elitists and support Chuck Schumer and Nancy Pelosi's anti-freedom agenda. His new ad is a shameful attempt to fool the voters in his home state, and NRA members won't be fooled."