Omaha mayoral challenger Taylor Royal tried to outflank State Sen. John Murante on gun rights in the race for Nebraska state treasurer.
But the National Rifle Association sided Wednesday with the senator from Gretna, endorsing him in the May 15 Republican primary.
The NRA also endorsed Pete Ricketts for governor and Bob Evnen for Secretary of State, and urged “fellow gun owners and sportsmen” to vote.
“At a time when the five million members of the NRA are under attack like never before, these candidates have very publicly chosen to stand with us,” the NRA’s Chris Cox said in a statement. “Under Pete Ricketts leadership, the state has taken critically important steps to protect our Second Amendment Rights.” He cited the recently signed bill to protect gun owners’ personal information.
Royal in March attacked Omaha’s First National Bank for deciding not to renew a deal for a co-branded credit card with the NRA in the aftermath of the fatal school shooting in Parkland, Florida.
He said his treasurer’s office would do business with companies that shared Nebraska values, including prioritizing the Second Amendment.
Murante also criticized First National’s decision, but said contracts with the state should be reviewed in accordance with the law, not whim.
First National, the nation’s largest privately held bank at $20 billion in assets, manages about $5 billion invested in the state’s college savings plans.
The NRA timed its endorsement before too many early votes had been cast. Support from the group could carry additional weight this year in the treasurer’s race because the GOP primary is the general election. Democrats fielded no candidate.
“I’m proud to stand with the NRA,” Murante said. “I have always been a strong supporter of the 2nd Amendment and my conviction will not waiver.”
Royal said he would continue to support and advocate for 2nd Amendment rights.
“As a gun owner and a NRA member, I am a strong supporter of the 2nd Amendment,” Royal said, noting that he had appeared at a Nebraska Firearms Association rally as well as Ducks Unlimited and Pheasants Forever banquets.