The National Rifle Association Political Victory Fund has endorsed Republican Sen. Cindy Hyde-Smith in Mississippi's Senate special election, strengthening her position as the favorite in the race.
The NRA announced the endorsement in a Monday news release.
"Cindy Hyde-Smith is an ardent supporter of the Second Amendment and will work to ensure that our constitutional rights are protected," NRA-PVF chairman Chris Cox said in the statement. "Hyde-Smith will protect our right to keep and bear arms in the U.S. Senate and vote to confirm Supreme Court justices who respect the Second Amendment."
Hyde-Smith was appointed to the seat when Republican Sen. Thad Cochran stepped down after serving four decades in the Senate, the Washington Times reported. She is running in November to finish remainder of Cochran’s term in a nonpartisan jungle primary that also features Republican Chris McDaniel and Democrat Mike Espy.
Why did the NRA endorse her?
The NRA-PVF said in its statement that it endorsed Hyde-Smith because she aligns with the organization on key issues related to gun rights, and has stood up to Democrats in Congress who have tried to push stricter gun control laws.
"Hyde Smith has opposed attempts to ban lawfully owned firearms, magazines and ammunition, and she has stood against the gun control agenda promoted by Chuck Schumer, Nancy Pelosi, and former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg," the release read.
What does it mean for the race?
The NRA endorsement adds another conservative notch in the belt of Hyde-Smith, who continues to face a relentless attack on her political affiliation from McDaniel, a GOP state senator.
McDaniel continued that attack Sunday during an interview on Breitbart News Sunday.
"It's insane to me," McDaniel told host Matthew Boyle. "She can't be a Republican, she can't be a lifelong conservative, and that's just the tip of the iceberg. Not only did she vote for Hillary Clinton, when she was the cultural commissioner here in the state, she implemented or tried to implement a gun ban on state ag properties.
"...She's funded by Democrats. She votes like a Democrat. She's pushed Democratic measures her entire life," McDaniel said.