The National Rifle Association released a new ad opposing Tennessee Democrat Phil Bredesen and supporting Republican Marsha Blackburn this week in the gun-rights group's latest foray into the hotly contested Senate race.
"The Supreme Court is divided," the ad begins. "Our right to self-defense hangs in the balance. If Phil Bredesen wins, Chuck Schumer and Dianne Feinstein will destroy our right to self-defense."
The ad then goes on to advocate that Tennesseans vote for Bredesen's opponent.
"But there's something you can do about it," the ad says. "Marsha Blackburn will defend our rights. Always. On November 6, vote Marsha Blackburn for U.S. Senate."
The NRA said the 30-second ad is the first of a number the group plans to run on "cable, regional broadcast, radio, and digital platforms." The group's Political Victory Fund said it plans to spend seven-figures on the campaign.
"Phil Bredesen earned a ‘D' rating from the NRA because he turned his back on law-abiding gun owners," Chris W. Cox, chairman of the fund, said in a statement. "He is being proudly supported by anti-gun extremists Chuck Schumer and Michael Bloomberg."
The ad is the latest in the NRA's efforts to oppose Bredesen and boost Blackburn. Following its endorsement of Blackburn, the NRA slammed Bredesen for touting an outdated rating he had received from the gun-rights group. They also attacked Bredesen’s fundraising effort with leading gun control activist Michael Bloomberg earlier this month.
The NRA said Bredesen supports "a federal gun database, vetoed protections for concealed-carry permit holders, and supports criminalizing private firearm transfers."
While the NRA's spending in 2018 appears to be down from this point in previous elections, the group has focused a great deal on the Tennessee Senate race. Cox said he believes the Tennessee race is key to keeping the Senate under the control of those who support gun rights.
"The stakes for this election are clear," he said in his statement. "Our basic right to keep a firearm in the home for self-defense hangs in the balance. Don't be fooled. A vote for Phil Bredesen is a vote for a Democrat-controlled Senate, with Majority Leader Schumer and Chairman Feinstein controlling who sits on the Supreme Court."
Cox said Blackburn, on the other hand, will be an ally to gun-rights supporters: "Marsha Blackburn will always support the constitutional rights of law-abiding Tennessee gun owners."