Oregon Republican gubernatorial nominee took $10,000 from firearms lobbying group


The National Shooting Sports Foundation, which donated to Christine Drazan just days before Election Day, has given nearly $600,000 to Republican candidates this election cycle.

The campaign of Christine Drazan, the Republican nominee for governor of Oregon, received a $10,000 contribution from the National Shooting Sports Foundation, a trade association for the firearm industry, in the final days of the 2022 midterms.

The group, which, the Daily Beast reported, has filled a gap in campaign spending left by the National Rifle Association after its legal troubles caused campaign cash shortages, gave the donation on Oct. 22, according to campaign finance records, a little more than two weeks before Election Day.

Drazan is running against Democratic nominee Tina Kotek in the race for Oregon governor. Most polling of the contest shows the candidates running even, with independent candidate Betsy Johnson also receiving significant support.

The National Shooting Sports Foundation has close ties to the largest gun manufacturing companies in the country. Executives of Smith & Wesson and Daniel Defense — which made the gun used in the massacre at an elementary school in Uvalde, Texas, in May — sit on the NSSF board of directors. The group is based in Newtown, Connecticut, the same town that was the site of a mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in 2012.

The NSSF has given tens of thousands of dollars to Republican candidates in the 2022 election cycle, including Wisconsin Sen. Ron Johnson, Nevada Senate nominee Adam Laxalt, Georgia Senate nominee Herschel Walker, Ohio Senate nominee J.D. Vance, and Washington Senate nominee Tiffany Smiley.

In total, the group has given more than $628,000 to federal candidates running for office this year alone, with 98% of that going to Republicans, according to Open Secrets.

The NSSF website praises Drazan's "belief in the Second Amendment" and her opposition to gun safety measures such as "red flag" laws, which allow authorities to prevent people deemed a threat to themselves or others from possessing firearms.

As a former member and minority leader of the Oregon House of Representatives, Drazan voted against Oregon's "red flag" bill in 2019 and against a bill requiring the secure storage of firearms in 2021; both bills passed and became law. If elected, Drazan says, she will work to weaken the "red flag" law.

Even though President Joe Biden easily carried Oregon in 2020 by 16 points, Johnson's independent candidacy could play a part in the outcome by receiving a sizable portion of the vote.

Drazan and Kotek are tied in the FiveThirtyEight average of polling thus far, both receiving an estimated 39.1% of support. Johnson is currently receiving 13.8% of polled voters' support.

Inside Elections, the nonpartisan political handicapping outlet, rates the contest as toss-up.

Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.