U.S. Rep Chet Edwards, D-Waco, in the fight of his career as he runs for re-election in the most Republican House district held by a Democrat anywhere in the country, got a big boost Monday from an unlikely source: the National Rifle Association. The NRA's Victory Fund announced it would back Edwards over his GOP challenger, Bill Flores, on a day when the eight-term congressman's decision not to appear with President Barack Obama was the subject of much discussion in media and political circles. Edwards and Bill White, the Democratic nominee for governor, were the highest-profile Democrats to duck the president, who made fundraising stops in Dallas and Austin and gave a speech on higher education on the campus of the University of Texas.

In a press release, Edwards' spokeswoman, Megan Jacobs, crowed about the nod. "I cannot imagine any candidate in our district who would not want the endorsement of the NRA Victory Fund, which is by far the largest gun rights organization in the country," she said. The release went on to note that Edwards "has received an 'A' rating from the National Rifle Association and supported the 2nd Amendment as a right guaranteeing individuals' rights to gun ownership long before the recent Supreme Court decision affirming that individual right."

Matt Mackowiak, Flores' campaign manager, had this to say about the NRA endorsement via e-mail: “Bill Flores is a strong supporter of the 2nd amendment, filled out a perfect NRA questionnaire that received an AQ rating, is a life member of the NRA and the Texas State Rifle Association and has already been endorsed by Gun Owners of America. Bill will never receive an F rating from the NRA as Congressman Edwards did in 2003."

Edwards is the third House Democrat to be endorsed by the NRA this election cycle. The other two are U.S. Rep. Travis Childers of Mississippi and U.S. Rep. Rick Boucher of Virginia.

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