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NRA backs Cornyn over Stockman in Texas primary

11:28 AM ET, Dec 18, 2013
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Sen. John Cornyn of Texas won a key endorsement Wednesday from the National Rifle Association, as he fights off a GOP primary challenge from Rep. Steve Stockman on his right.

The endorsement is a blow to Stockman, who invited NRA board member Ted Nugent to President Obama's State of the Union address and once raffled off a Bushmaster AR-15 by noting it is "the No. 1 firearm on the gun banners' wish list."

Cornyn has long opposed gun-control efforts and was against a Senate proposal to expand background checks on potential gun owners. He introduced a bill that would allow Texans and other Americans with gun permits to carry concealed weapons across state lines.

"John Cornyn is a consistent and passionate champion of our Second Amendment rights," said Chris Cox, chairman of the NRA's Political Victory Fund. "The choice is clear for law-abiding gun owners and sportsmen in the U.S. Senate Republican primary election in Texas, and that choice is John Cornyn."

Stockman is also remembered for accusing the U.S. government of "executing" members of the Branch Davidian cult in the 1993 siege of their compound near Waco to justify the need for a ban on assault weapons.

While Stockman's surprising challenge of Cornyn, the No. 2 Republican leader in the Senate, has shaken up Texas politics, the congressman has yet to show he'll draw the institutional support to be competitive. The Club for Growth, a major player in GOP primaries, has said it doesn't expect to be involved in the Texas race. Cornyn also enjoys a huge fundraising advantage, with $7 million in the bank compared with $32,000 for Stockman. The primary is March 4.

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