The two men running for New York state’s 23rd Congressional District received starkly different ratings from the National Rifle Association.
While incumbent U.S. Rep Tom Reed, R-Corning, received an “A” rating, his challenger, former U.S. Naval Commander and Democrat John Plumb, received a “?” rating, which the NRA gives to candidates who refuse to answer their questionnaire. The NRA rated all candidates running for election in 2016 on their commitment to the Second Amendment.
“We have stood up time and time again to protect our Second Amendment rights,” Reed said in a statement. “It’s only fair that we fight to protect our rights. We will always stand together against those who try to take our rights away because I care about our traditions here in New York.”
Plumb meanwhile said in a statement that he will defend responsible New York gun owners’ right to own and added that he is a “proud hunter” and “lifelong military man.” His campaign also sent several photos to the Times Herald of Plumb firing at a shooting range and holding a gun while hunting.
He did not say whether or not he filled out the NRA questionnaire.
Amy Hasenberg, Reed’s campaign spokesperson, said Plumb’s NRA rating was given because he is “taking both sides of the issue.”
“He needs to be honest with us and express that he is in favor of gun control, just like (President) Barack Obama and (Democratic presidentail nominee) Hillary Clinton,” she said in a statement. “Voters deserve to know he will continue their unfair, anti-gun agenda.”
Plumb also accused Reed of misleading voters. He claimed Reed impersonated him on Twitter after Reed’s campaign created a fake Twitter account in March using Plumb’s campaign logo and the handle @DCJohnPlumb. In June, the account bio was edited to state that it was a parody account.
Plumb also said Reed falsely told constituents Plumb supports Obama’s gun control measures. In an interview Plumb gave to the Hornell Evening Tribune, he was quoted as saying he agrees with Republicans who want to defend the Second Amendment and supports responsible gun ownership, while also saying he agrees with the president that “our schools, our churches, and our communities should be safe and the level of violence we have witnessed is unacceptable.” He also was quoted as saying he believes it should be up to Congress to address the issue.
Reed cited the resulting story at the SCOPE Pig Roast in August. According to the Hornell Evening Tribune, Reed said, “You said publicly that you support President Obama’s executive action on gun control. That’s not standing for the Second Amendment.”
Plumb’s campaign argued Plumb was saying Congress should deal with gun violence, not that he sides with Obama’s measures.
“With his failed record in Congress of voting over and over against our rural communities and families for the past six years, Tom Reed is resorting to misleading voters,” Plumb said.
(Contact reporter Tom Dinki at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter, @tomdinki)