CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) - Gov. Joe Manchin has earned another rare endorsement for a Democratic U.S. Senate candidate this year, this time from the National Rifle Association.
The NRA's Political Victory Fund credited Manchin for his record as governor on gun issues. The group also noted that Manchin is a lifelong hunter and sportsman.
The NRA has endorsed 17 other Senate candidates in the general election, all Republicans. It is backing several Democrats in U.S. House races.
GOP Senate nominee John Raese has campaigned on 2nd Amendment issues. He and Republican groups have sought to link Manchin to the Obama administration, which is considered unpopular in West Virginia. The National Republican Senatorial Committee launched a TV ad targeting Manchin that furthered that attack Friday.
But the NRA's endorsement of Manchin follows that of the U.S. and state chambers of commerce earlier in the week. Both chambers and the NRA have been at odds with the Democratic White House. The U.S. Chamber is also supporting mostly Republicans this election.
Lara Ramsburg heralded Thursday's NRA nod for the Manchin campaign. Ramsburg had been the governor's communications and later public policy director before becoming an executive with drug maker Mylan Inc. last year. Ramsburg began working on the Senate campaign's media efforts this week.