America’s leading gun rights organization is wading into the LD26 GOP Senate primary, Save Jerseyans, and the National Rifle Association (NRA) – which represents 4+ million member gun owners – is less than happy with one of the candidates.
“ALERT: New Jersey Senate candidate Tom Mastrangelo is misleading voters by distributing knockoff NRA orange postcards,” the NRA declared on Friday via its Twitter page. “Genuine NRA orange postcards inform gun owners about NRA-endorsed candidates. Incumbent Sen. Joseph Pennacchio is the only NRA-endorsed candidate in this race.”
The NRA’s tweet also features an image of its well-known orange endorsement card (in this case touting an official endorsement of Pennacchio) juxtaposed alongside an eerily similar-looking knockoff card which trumpets Mastrangelo’s “AQ” NRA rating (the highest rating given to candidates who don’t have an actual record).
The pro-Mastrangelo card stops just short of claiming he’s endorsed but the verbiage and design leave little doubt that the designer intended to confuse the recipient.
Here it is:
🚨ALERT: New Jersey Senate candidate Tom Mastrangelo is misleading voters by distributing knockoff NRA orange postcards.
Genuine NRA orange postcards inform voters about NRA-endorsed candidates.
Incumbent @JoePennacchio is the only NRA-endorsed candidate in this race. #njleg pic.twitter.com/aw7xIlHsfG
— NRA (@NRA) May 19, 2023
Garden State Second Amendment voters have plenty to vote on at the moment as a legal challenge to the latest round of gun control measures – including a liability insurance mandate – works its way through federal court.
A formal reprimand from the NRA is never welcome news for a Republican candidate heading into the final days of a hotly-contested primary fight. Mastrangelo, a Morris County commissioner, is attempting to unseat Pennacchio who has served as a leading critic of the Murphy Administration including the governor’s Covid-19 response and policies.
Pennacchio’s Assembly running mates Jay Webber and Brian Bergen also received official NRA endorsements.