Skip to main content

TribBlog: Friendly Fire

The Texas State Rifle Association has nothing but love for Sen. Hutchison. So why is it endorsing Gov. Perry?

The logo for the Texas State Rifle Association’s Political Action Committee (TSRA-PAC) is a savage, snorting steer with smoke billowing from its nostrils looking ready to charge.

The love that organization has for U.S. Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison might conjure up an image of a white pony in a bed of flowers walking toward a rainbow.

So why did the TSRA, the Texas affiliate of the National Rifle Association, endorse Gov. Rick Perry in his re-election bid against the senior senator?

“It was based on history. He’s got a decade,” said Alice Tripp, the TSRA-PAC’s legislative director.

Not that there's anything wrong with the state's senior U.S. senator.

“We don’t do directly ‘against (or for’ a candidate). Sen. Hutchison has an A+ rating (with the TSRA). You know, if Perry was running for U.S. Senate the endorsement might be the opposite.”

Instead, Tripp said, the TRSA reverted to the time-tested theory of not fixing things that aren’t broken. And she made clear neither Perry nor Hutchison need fixing.

“Sen. Hutchison is a great friend and this is never easy. When you have friends you are always in trouble — always. So you have to have some kind of logical process and the logical process is, over a decade of consistency in the job of Texas governor. He signed every bill that had to do with pro-concealed carrying, pro-hunting, pro-gun ownership, and he signed [the] Castle Doctrine” law.

What about his portrayal of Hutchison as a federal legislator and out-of-touch Texan responsible for the erosion of states’ rights and an assault on the Second Amendment?

“Not even discussed,” said Tripp. “Gov. Perry is rock solid and it was based on his performance as governor of the State of Texas.”

GOP gubernatorial candidate Debra Medina didn't respond to the TSRA's questionnaire about gun rights, said Tripp, which is how the agency rates the candidates.

"You can't have a statement about a candidate if you don't hear from them," she said.

The Texas Tribune Member Drive Fall 2021 banner

Support public-service journalism that’s always free to read.

Yes, I'll donate today