Hunt, Fish, Vote: 2010 Midterm Elections

November is a crucial time for sportsmen and not just because of hunting season. On Nov. 2, voting will open for the midterm elections and sportsmen and women will get to decide who runs their government. According to analysis conducted by the New York Times, 37 states are having gubernatorial elections on Tuesday and out of those states, 23 are closely contested. To help you decide which way to cast your ballot, we've researched which of these governor hopefuls are the most supportive of hunting, fishing and the Second Amendment. We found information on candidates running in the following states: Oregon, California, Minnesota, Wisconsin, Illinois, Ohio, Maine, Vermont, Massachusetts, Maryland, Georgia, Florida, Alabama, Hawaii, Iowa, Michigan, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Mexico, Texas, Connecticut, Pennsylvania, South Carolina. Read through our guide and vote smart this Tuesday. All NRA grades were found at: http://www.nrapvf.org/ Opening Photo: Cellular Immunity Photo: Lipton Sale
Oregon
Democrat: John Kitzhaber

Campaign site: http://www.johnkitzhaber.com/ At the very least, John Kitzhaber has good intentions when it comes to the outdoors. He is a former president of the Estes Park Institute and a member of Oregon Trout. But on the flipside, Kitzhaber is endorsed by the Humane Society Legislative Fund (a lobbying affiliate of the anti-hunting group the Humane Society of the United States). He's also endorsed by the Sierra Club, which claims to be a pro-hunting group, but some sportsmen believe it's actually an anti-hunting organization. When Kitzhaber was previously governor, he issued three vetoes to protect Measure 18, an initiative approved by Oregon voters that banned bear-baiting and hound-hunting of bears and cougars. According to a survey he completed on votesmart.com (a website that compiles candidate information) Kitzhaber said he would support the increase of state restrictions on the purchase and possession of firearms, would favor allowing citizens to carry concealed firearms, and would support requiring manufacturers to provide child-safety locks with firearms. NRA grade: F
Oregon
Republican: Chris Dudley
Campaign Site: http://www.chrisdudley.com/ Chris Dudley is a strong supporter of the Second Amendment and the NRA has contributed $1,000 to his campaign. But in a state that highly-values environmental sustainability, Dudley is on the fence when it comes to human-caused global warming. In a debate he said: "My thought on global warming is this: that global warming exists, man contributes to it, how much, I don't know," he said. Kitzhaber said he believes global warming is caused by humans and poses "an enormous threat." One of the main issues concerning Oregon voters is land use. Here's Dudley's statement from his website: "[Dudley] believes that Oregon's land use laws have been effective in controlling urban sprawl and protecting farm and forestland over the past 30 years. However, too often individual property rights have been ignored in the land use process. The result is costly litigation for families and taxpayers and a system that is too rigid to address the unique differences in land use issues that confront communities across the state." NRA Grade: A
California
Democrat: Jerry Brown
Campaign Site: http://www.jerrybrown.org/ One of the main issues concerning sportsmen in California is water rights. For years the state has been trying to figure out how to get water from the northern reaches of the state to Southern California and the Central Valley farmers. Brown supports a peripheral canal around the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta. But some sportsmen organizations like Restore The Delta oppose the plan, which they say will hurt salmon fisheries and the local environment. Brown has served as governor in the past and is extremely experienced in environmental politics. He has a history of opposing offshore drilling and added more than 1,200 miles of Northern California rivers to the federal Wild and Scenic River System. The Sierra Club strongly supports Brown and has for many years. NRA Grade: C
California
Republican: Meg Whitman
Campaign Site: http://www.megwhitman.com/ Whitman, a former Ebay CEO, also supports the canal plan around the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta. According to an article by SF Gate.com, Whitman believes in tough gun laws like the assault weapon bans and handgun control. But on her campaign site she states: "I am a strong supporter of the Second Amendment and our clear constitutional right to keep and bear arms. I believe current gun laws need to be enforced but we do not need any new restrictions on gun owners. Their current rights, as set forth in the Second Amendment, must be rigorously protected." NRA Grade: C+
Minnesota
Democrat: Mark Dayton

Campaign Site: http://markdayton.org/mainsite/ If you want to be voted in as governor in Minnesota, you better support two things: hockey and the outdoors. Dayton is a hunter and a gun owner. He said he keeps two loaded .357 magnum pistols at home in a locked box, owns a 9 mm pistol and a 12-gauge shotgun. He's supported opening morning dove hunting seasons and also the new sandhill crane hunting season in Minnesota. Dayton also voted for the Outdoor Legacy Amendment when it passed in 2008. The amendment "increases the sales and use tax rate by three-eighths of one percent on taxable sales until the year 2034 to dedicate funding to: protect drinking water sources, protect and restore wetlands, prairies and forests, as well as fish, game and wildlife habitat, preserve arts and cultural heritage, support parks and trails and protect, enhance and restore lakes, rivers, streams and groundwater." NRA Grade: F (he was against the use of teflon-coated bullets).
Minnesota
Republican: Tom Emmer

Campaign site: http://emmerforgovernor.com/ At first glance, Emmer looks like the candidate of choice for Minnesota sportsmen. "I have hunted sandhill crane, and let me tell you they taste very good," Emmer said at a forum in August. Even with the state facing large budget deficits, Emmer said he would not support increasing the cost of hunting and fishing licenses. But Emmer did not initially support the Outdoor Legacy Amendment and even attempted to have the amendment repealed. He has since switched his position and now says he supports the act. He said he initially was against it because he was worried that the tax money would be spent incorrectly. NRA Grade: A+
Wisconsin
Democrat: Tom Barrett

Campaign Site: http://www.barrettforwisconsin.com/ Here's Barrett's take on hunting and fishing: "While I don't hunt myself, my wife and I love to fish, and our family enjoys many outdoors activities, such as hiking, biking and camping. I certainly value Wisconsin's sporting and outdoors traditions, and support hunting as a valuable management tool and economic impact to our economy." Barrett says if elected he would try to make hunting, fishing and entering state parks free for two weekends a year to increase tourism and participation. Barrett has always opposed efforts to drill for oil and gas in the Great Lakes. When asked about supporting concealed carry for bowhunters he said: "I would like to learn more from Wisconsin's bowhunters about their unique circumstances and this issue. This and other important issues are why as governor I will always keep an open line of communication with Wisconsin's sporting and hunting community." Read more from the interview with [Iron Mountain Daily News here](http://www.ironmountaindailynews.com/page/content.detail/id/518135.html interview with the Daily News). NRA Grade: F
Wisconsin
Republican: Scott Walker

Campaign Site: http://www.scottwalker.org/ Walker didn't grow up hunting and fishing but he is currently a hunter. In the same interview as Barrett he said that if elected he would sign "shall issue" legislation like the bill authored by Rep. Scott Gunderson that was vetoed by Governor Doyle. As a deer hunter, Walker is well-aware of the concerns facing Wisconsin's deer herd, and at times he's been critical of the state DNR. He said he will work to increase the deer herd and hunter participation as part of his tourism plan. In a three-page document Walker says Gov. Jim Doyle and the state Department of Natural Resources have engaged in "political games" and "put bureaucrats in Madison ahead of hunters of the state." According to PolitiFact Wisconsin, Walker claimed that the "deer population has dwindled" as a result of "mismanagement" by Doyle and the DNR.
The result, he argues, is a smaller herd, fewer deer taken and fewer hunters. NRA Grade: A
Illinois
Democrat: Patrick Quinn

Campaign Site: http://www.quinnforillinois.com/splash As governor, Quinn has done some good things for outdoorsmen. He appointed two natural resources professionals to run the DNR and he also reopened seven state parks just a month after he was sworn in. Quinn is also trying to establish a fourth deer hunting zone in the state to provide hunters with better opportunities. Quinn also saved $9.25 million that were dedicated to conservation funds. On his way out the door, Rod Blagojevich, the governor at the time, authorized this money to be stripped from the DNR in order to help meet state deficits. Upon being sworn in, Quinn reversed Blagojevich's order. But Quinn has faced some heavy criticism as Asian carp continue to infest Illinois waters and make their way into the Great Lakes. In an interview with the Morris Daily, Herald Jason Plummer (running mate of Quinn's opponent Bill Brady) said Quinn neglected the River Coordinating Council. "Quinn entirely neglected that obligation while he was in office, and now we're seeing the Asian Carp issue pop up," Plummer said. "This issue has an absolutely huge impact on the economy, and they don't know how they're going to resolve that … We're getting sued by other states over the issue, and Canada is livid at Illinois." Read the full interview from the Morris Daily Herald here. NRA Grade: F
Illinois
Republican: Bill Brady

Campaign Site: http://bradyforillinois.com/ Brady is endorsed by both the NRA and the Illinois State Rifle Association. Here's what Brady's campaign says: "Senator Brady is a long time supporter of Illinois hunters, sportsmen and lawful firearm owners. We are certain that, as Governor, Bill Brady will spearhead efforts to restore Illinois' outdoor sporting heritage and protect law-abiding firearm owners from extremist efforts to infringe upon their constitutional rights." He has supported a law allowing the carrying of concealed guns and opposed a ban on "assault weapons." But Brady has drawn criticism from the Sierra club, which says that he has proposed slashing the DNR budget by 10-20 percent. NRA Grade: A
Ohio
Democrat: Ted Strickland

Campaign Site: http://www.tedstrickland.com/ Strickland, who was raised in a town called Duck Run, is a self-proclaimed avid hunter and supporter of sportsmen everywhere. The current governor has a strong track record when it comes to the outdoors: -In 1994, Ted Strickland voted against the Clinton Gun Ban and received an A from the NRA. - In tough budget times, Strickland protected the Ohio Division of Wildlife by not allowing funds to be diverted to purposes outside the Division of Wildlife. - Supported concealed carry. - Expanded public lands for hunting and fishing. In 2010, 16,000 acres of new state forest in Vinton County will open up for public hunting and Wingfoot Lake in Portage County will be open for fishing. - Cracked down on poachers. In an effort to crack down on poachers, Ohio has become a part of the Interstate Wildlife Violator Compact to track and catch poachers that operate across state lines. He also significantly increased fines on poachers. - Started the Annual Youth Turkey Hunt. - Helpws found the Governor's Sportsmen Caucus. NRA Grade: A+
Ohio
Republican: John Kasich

Campaign Site: http://www.kasichforohio.com/site/c.hpIJKWOCJqG/b.5199849/k.BFBA/Home.htm Kasich is neither a hunter nor an angler, but he does own a gun and considers himself "a Second Amendment guy," according to the Columbus Dispatch. Kasich questions Strickland's support of the Second Amendment. On his site Kasich says: "Strickland goes out of his way to offend gun owners by deliberately selecting lieutenant governor candidates who are openly hostile to the Second Amendment. Lee Fisher was a board member of Handguns Control, Inc., and Yvette McGee Brown has publicly voiced her anti-Second Amendment views." Facing a tough budget deficit, Kasich has made no promises to not cut funding from wildlife funds if elected. He was quoted saying "Everything is on the table." NRA Grade: B
Maine
Democrat: Libby Mitchell

Campaign Site: http://libbymitchellforgovernor.com/ Libby Mitchell is not a hunter, but she does seem to have sportsmen's best interest in mind. She said she would support Sunday hunting as long as deer is not included and also said she would support intensified coyote harvests. Here are her goals for growing the outdoor economy 1) work to rebuild the northern Maine deer herd including habitat protection and predation by coyotes, 2) expand opportunities such as open water fishing in all counties and review hunting season lengths, 3) improve fisheries through a variety of efforts. But Sun Journal outdoors columnist Paul Reynolds is skeptical. Here's what he had to say about Mitchell: "even if she is genuinely pro-sportsman, she comes with far too much "incumbent baggage." Her party has a checkered track record when it comes to gun rights. It has been calling the shots in Augusta for 40 years and look what it has gotten us, a governor who has alienated Maine sportsmen at every juncture and plundered the Fish and Wildlife Department coffers to balance his general budget." To read his full column, click here. NRA Grade: B-
Maine
Republican: Paul LePage

Campaign Site: http://www.lepage2010.com/ Like Mitchell, LePage is not a sportsman, but unlike Mitchell, he's endorsed by the NRA. It's the first time the NRA has endorsed a candidate for Maine governor in 20 years "Maine has a long record of strong firearm ownership and wildlife stewardship," Chris W. Cox, the NRA Political Victory Fund chairman and chief lobbyist said in a statement. "It is time to elect a governor who will support gun owners, hunters and sportsmen in Maine." LePage also said he would support Sunday hunting and increased coyote harvests. NRA Grade: A
Vermont
Democrat: Peter Shumlin
Campaign Site: http://www.shumlinforgovernor.com/ Shumlin is a hunter and an angler and for the most part, has voted that way. He voted for legislation that would establish a mentored hunting license that would allow prospective hunters to try their hand at hunting before completing a hunter education course. The new hunters would have to be directly supervised in the field by a mentor who is at least 21 years-old and who holds a valid hunting license. His campaign site says: "In his free time he enjoys running, hiking and cross country skiing. He likes to fish, hunt and garden and can sometimes be found spreading manure and cutting hay at the dairy farm where he is a partner." NRA Grade: A
Vermont
Republican: Brian Dubie

Campaign site: http://briandubie.com/ Perhaps Dubie's closest link to the outdoors is serving as Lt. governor for former Governor Jim Douglas who was a sportsmen and a member of the Governors Sportsmen's Caucus, a group that facilitates communication and information exchange between participating offices in support of regulations that support hunting and fishing. Dubie, a former fighter pilot, has also made appearances at outdoors shows and has voiced his support for sportsmen. NRA Grade: A
Massachusetts
Democrat: Deval Patrick

Campaign Site: http://www.mass.gov/?pageID=gov3homepage&L=1&L0=Home&sid=Agov3 Gun owners in Massachusetts are aren't exactly big fans of Patrick. He sponsored House Bill 4102, which prohibits the purchasing, renting or leasing of more than one firearm in a thirty day timeframe. The bill also requires all private sales and transfers of firearms to be done through a federally licensed firearms dealer. Under this law, sportsmen could not sell a gun to a friend, associate or pass a gun to a family member without first going to a licensed dealer. The U.S. Sportsmen's Alliance is strongly opposed to the measure. "There is no legitimate reason why law-abiding gun owners should be prohibited from purchasing more than one firearm per month," Jeremy Rine, U.S. Sportsmen's Alliance associate director said in a press release. "Limiting firearm purchases and private sales without cause adds up to nothing but headaches for sportsmen and, ultimately, less conservation dollars for the Commonwealth." Patrick also had some questionable comments regarding the First Amendment. This summer Patrick said: "It's a free country. I wish it weren't. You know, you got to respect that freedom." When commenting about a controversial rally held on the anniversary of Martin Luther King Jr's "I have a dream speech." NRA Grade: D
Massachusetts
Republican: Charlie Baker

Campaign site: http://www.charliebaker2010.com/ In the never-ending tug-of-war between commercial fishermen and recreational anglers, Baker is pushing for an increase in commercial catch to help save jobs in a flat-lining economy. Controversy is brewing in the state over a catch-share program that sets a quota on 19 species for commercial fishermen. The quota was intended to conserve fishery populations, but commercial anglers say it will kill their business. Baker is undoubtedly a stronger supporter of the Second Amendment than Patrick. On his campaign site he says: "I believe gun ownership is an individual, not a collective, right. I support the right of law-abiding citizens to responsibly own firearms, whether for hunting, sport, collecting or for personal protection. Massachusetts needs to do a better job of enforcing the laws we already have on the books, and treating the commission of a crime with a gun as the serious offense that it is." In a story by the Boston Herald, Baker said that gun control efforts were a "little misguided," and gun laws in Massachusetts are already among the strictest in the nation. He said gun violence comes from: cuts in local aid that he said have hurt local law enforcement, reductions in the budgets of county prosecutors, and witness and jury intimidation. NRA Grade: NA
Maryland
Democrat: Martin O'Malley

Campaign Site: http://www.martinomalley.com/site/splashpage/ As the incumbent governor, O'Malley purchased 28,000 acres for Program Open Space, but the number of Natural Resources Police has decreased under O'Malley. In an interview with the Baltimore Sun, O'Malley dodged a question about classifying striped-bass as a game fish, which would make them off limits for commercial fishing. You can read the full interview here. O'Malley tried to veto a bill that would save the state money by permitting police officers to recycle their old handguns, but he was overruled on his veto. The Maryland Shall Issue, an organization that promotes gun rights, said this about O'Malley's veto attempt: "Governor O'Malley, facing the biggest budget shortfall ever, decided to make it into a gun control issue -- as if destroying the guns used by police to protect and save lives might somehow make us safer." NRA Grade: F
Maryland
Republican: Robert Ehrlich

Campaign Site: [http://www.bobehrlich.com/we-can-do-better-splash/](Maryland Republican:// Robert Ehrlich Campaign Site http:) Ehrlich is hard to pin down when it comes to gun regulation. He has voted for background checks, He doesn't support conceal and carry and he refused to repeal computerized background checks for gun buyers. "My wife wouldn't let me own a gun," Ehrlich told the Washington Post. "I don't shoot; I play golf." But since 1996 he has voted several times to weaken overbearing gun control laws. In 1999 he voted yes on decreasing gun waiting period from three days to one and in 1996, he voted to repeal the so-called assault weapons ban. NRA Grade: B
Georgia
Democrat: Roy Barnes

Campaign Site: http://www.roy2010.com/ If you're going to win the governor's seat in Georgia, you better support the Second Amendment. And in the upcoming election, it appears both gubernatorial candidates do. In 2002 the NRA threw its full support behind Barnes. "Voters can be confident that Roy Barnes will continue to be a staunch supporter of Second Amendment rights as Governor of Georgia," the Association said in a statement. Barnes regularly turns out for sporting events and his campaign site states that "As Governor, Roy will do all he can to ensure that firearms stay in the hands of law-abiding Georgians, and out of the hands of dangerous criminals." NRA Grade: A
Georgia
Republican: Nathan Deal

Campaign Site: http://www.nathandeal.org/ Here's Deal's campaign statement: "As an active sportsman and fisherman, Nathan has a strong interest in [these issues] and will work as your next governor to protect your rights. As Democrats in Washington continue their efforts to erode the freedoms of the people to own and carry arms, Georgia needs a governor with the strength and conviction to stand up to their efforts. Nathan will ensure the rights of Georgians are protected." On several occasions Deal has weighed in on gun rights law cases like when he signed the pro-gun congressional amicus brief to the Supreme Court arguing that the Second Amendment guarantees an individual right to bear arms. He also signed a congressional amicus brief to the Court in McDonald v Chicago, arguing that the Second Amendment protects a fundamental right that applies to all law-abiding Americans regardless of where they live. He's backed by both the NRA and GeorgiaCarry.org. NRA Grade: A
Florida
Democrat: Alex Sink

Campaign Site: http://www.alexsink2010.com/ Both Sink and her opponent Rick Scott want to restore the Everglades and bring back the Florida Forever land-buying program. But that's about where their similarities end. Sink is strongly opposed to offshore drilling and says that the Deepwater Horizon spill is proof that it's dangerous to drill anywhere near Florida beaches. Sink gets low marks on gun control, but her running mate, Rod Smith fairs better. According to the campaign site: "Rod opposed gun control and received high marks from the NRA; he was the only Democrat to receive an "A" rating from the Chamber of Commerce in 2003." NRA Grade: F
Florida
Republican: Rick Scott

Campaign Site: http://www.rickscottforflorida.com/home/ Running on a pledge to bring more jobs to Florida, Scott supports offshore drilling but wants to halt any drilling within 10 miles of the Florida coast until it's safer. His website states: "It is a bit ridiculous that foreign countries can drill for oil a few miles off Florida's shores while our citizens are getting hammered by high gasoline prices." Scott does not believe that global climate change is caused by people.
"I have not been convinced,'' he told reporters in July when asked about the subject. Scott also has significantly higher marks when it comes to gun control than his opponent. NRA grade: A
Alabama
Democrat: Ron Sparks

Campaign Site: http://www.sparks2010.com/ Alabama, home to lenient gun laws and recently increased penalties for hunting game violations, will decide between two outdoors and firearm-friendly candidates. Ron Sparks is the current Commissioner of Agriculture and Industries and has done extensive work with Alabama's farming industry. He is passionately pro-gambling, and wants to legalize the industry, saying it could generate $220 million for the state. A spokesman from Ron Sparks said that, as a lifelong hunter and angler, Sparks is fully supportive of hunting and fishing measures and a strong proponent of the Second Amendment. He also supports additions to Wildlife Management Areas and Forever Wild, a state program which buys land for use as nature preserves, and state parks. He has a Brittany bird dog named George. NRA grade: A
Alabama
Republican: Robert Bentley

Campaign Site: http://www.robertbentley2010.com/ Bentley was elected to the Alabama House of Representatives by Tuscaloosa County and values the 2nd and 10th Amendments. He served as a general medical officer during the Vietnam War and is a founding member of Alabama Dermatology Associates. He largely financed his own campaign and endured some early fundraising struggles. He thinks it is important that Alabamians use their strengths--agriculture, hunting and fishing--to create jobs and revive the economy in poor regions such as the Black Belt. "You may not get a biotech industry down there, but you can allow people in Greene County to breed large deer," he said to the Decatur Daily. NRA grade: A
Connecticut
Republican: Tom Foley

Campaign Site: http://www.tomfoley2010.com/ Harvard alumnus Foley has made an effort to reach out to outdoorsmen during his campaign, even sending a letter to various Connecticut Sportsmen's Clubs describing himself as an advocate for hunting, fishing and the Second Amendment. He promised that as Governor, he would support programs that enhance these activities in Connecticut, including educational programs for kids. Foley has experience in both the private and public sector, serving for six years as the US Ambassador to Ireland and working in Iraq to oversee state-owned businesses. He has been a significant fundraiser for the Republican party for many years. NRA grade: N/A
Connecticut
Democrat: Dan Malloy

Campaign Site: http://danmalloy.com/ Dan Malloy left his post as mayor of Stamford to begin his gubernatorial campaign. A former District Attorney in Brooklyn, he has a strong conviction record in felony cases and clean energy is a priority on his agenda. In a recent NBC Connecticut article, Malloy discussed his disagreement with the June United States Supreme Court decision which re-established the universality of the 2nd Amendment and questioning the constitutionality of Chicago's ban on handguns. He was quoted as saying "I am a supporter of the Second Amendment, and of the rights of sportsmen, hunters and citizens to own firearms. At the same time, local governments have long been the primary arbiter of firearm regulation, especially handguns. There is a reason for that. I don't believe we should take local government out of the picture when it comes to controlling firearms." NRA grade: F
Hawaii
Republican: Duke Aiona

Campaign Site: http://aionafinnegan.com/ Though this archipelago state has no native game species, there are still many issues of concern to outdoorsmen. Hawaii native Duke Aiona (R), received a C+ rating from the NRA, but is aware of the state's unique ecosystem and says that an Aiona administration will "ensure that residents and visitors have access to clean, safe and well-maintained recreational facilities that allow everyone to enjoy and respect Hawaii's natural beauty." If elected, he said he'll work to develop sustainable fisheries while considering the state's cultural heritage, support recreational fishermen, combat invasive species, and give modern technology to environmental protection officers (including tasers and hand-held ticketing devices.) NRA grade: C+
Hawaii
Democrat: Neil Abercrombie

Campaign Site: http://www.neilabercrombie.com/ Though not a Hawaii native, Neil Abercrombie has served in the Hawaiian Legislature for more than 10 years and is a former member of the US House of Representatives from Hawaii's 1st District, where he co-sponsored a bill to reinstate a ban on assault weapons. He also sat on the Natural Resources Committee, working to preserve wild areas on a national scale and helping establish a humpback whale sanctuary in Hawaii. NRA grade: F
Iowa
Democrat: Chet Culver

Campaign Site: http://www.chetculver.com/home The NRA has endorsed incumbent Chet Culver in the Iowa gubernatorial race. During his previous term, Culver signed legislation making Iowa a "shall-issue" state, taking control of the gun permit process away from local sheriffs. Mourning dove hunting has been illegal in Iowa since 1918, but there have been several attempts to repeal the ban. Culver has never taken a strong side on the issue. He also signed Senate Bill 558, which increased the "wildlife habitat fee" that hunters and trappers pay. The revenue from these fees goes to fish and game protection and habitat development. NRA grade: A, endorsed
Iowa
Republican: Terry Branstad

Campaign Site: http://governorbranstad2010.com/ Despite the valuable NRA backing, Culver will need a strong finish to overcome former four-term Governor and former President of Des Moines University Terry Branstad. Branstad is shown to have a solid lead in the polls and has an endorsement from Police Officers for Good Government, which supported Culver in 2006. Culver who was quoted by local TV network KCRG as saying "I expect to get the support of the vast majority of sportsman and gun owners in the state of Iowa," criticized Branstad for not passing concealed carry legislation during his 16 years in office, though Branstad said he never had the opportunity. On the same ballot, Iowans can also vote on the Water and Land Legacy Amendment, which, if passed, would establish a protected fund to finance new trails, wetlands, soil-conservation efforts and outdoor recreation projects, as well as revitalize the states shrinking pheasant population. NRA grade: A
Michigan
Democrat: Virg Bernero

Campaign Site: http://www.votevirg.com/ Voting options for outdoorsmen in Michigan became bleaker when avid hunter and conservationist Lieutenant Governor John Cherry withdrew from the race due to funding issues, and with unemployment in the state hovering at around 13% (the second highest in the country), most topics outside of job creation have received less attention. Lansing Mayor Virg Bernero is endorsed by the Michigan League of Conservation Voters and promises to protect Lake Michigan from asian carp and other invasive species, preserve wilderness areas and expand the Pure Michigan campaign to attract visitors and create jobs. He recognizes the value that hunting and outdoor recreation has on the economy. Bernero has substantial public service experience, having served in both the Michigan House and Senate and is proud of finding new investment and creating jobs in Lansing. NRA grade: F
Michigan
Republican: Rick Snyder

Campaign Site: http://www.rickformichigan.com/ Rick Snyder, the CEO of a venture capital firm in Ann Arbor and former CEO of Gateway Computers loves fishing and the outdoors. He is also a gun owner. His campaign website states: "While I'm not an avid hunter, I support the industry and believe it plays an important role in our economy and quality of life. It also can have a valuable environmental conservation impact and I would work to streamline the processes so that hunters get better customer service from the state and local governments. We have a long tradition in our state of supporting gun rights and the hunting industry in Michigan and I would continue to support that tradition as Governor." NRA grade: N/A
Nevada
Democrat: Rory Reid

Campaign Site: http://www.roryreid.com/ Strategies for dealing with Nevada's looming budget deficit are key in a race that has also become something of a personal grudge match. Rory Reid, veteran Chairman of the Clark County Commission, is making his first run at a state office. He is the son of US Senate Majority Leader, Harry Reid (unpopular with voters after pushing an expensive health care reform bill in 2009) who appointed Republican candidate Brian Sandoval to his previous position of federal judge. Many say the lifetime appointment was an attempt to keep Sandoval from competing with the younger Reid in future elections. Reid enjoys fishing, and says he has fished on every lake in the state, and views the great outdoors as one of Nevada's greatest assets. NRA grade: A
Nevada
Republican: Brian Sandoval

Campaign Site: http://www.briansandoval.com/ Though both candidates are gun-friendly, Sandoval's website declares that he supports a strict interpretation of the Constitution and values state's rights. "I believe that all citizens have a right to firearms for sporting and self-defense purposes. I also support concealed carry laws," says the rising Republican star. In spring of 2009, outgoing Governor Jim Gibbons vetoed a hunting-apprecticeship bill, which was eventually overridden by the legislature and passed. The NRA reports that Nevada currently ranks 49th in terms of hunter recruitment, and that for every 100 hunters who leave the sport, only 30 replace them. NRA grade: A
New Hampshire
Democrat: John Lynch

Campaign Site: http://www.lynch10.com/ Incumbent John Lynch is seeking his fourth consecutive term as governor. Over the past 16 years, he has done a lot to help the environment; investing in state parks and protecting New Hampshire's waters. He received an endorsement from the Sierra Club for his dedication to air and water quality, and is a member of the Governor's Sportsmens Caucus, which encourages inter-agency communication in support of policies and regulations that promote and protect hunting and fishing. NRA grade: C
New Hampshire
Republican: John Stephen

Campaign Site: http://www.johnstephen.com/ The NRA-endorsed John Stephen has a long history of public service, serving as the New Hampshire Commissioner of Health and Human Services before becoming a Partner at the Lucas Group consultant firm. If elected, he wants to "stand up to federal power-grabs" and create and more open and accountable state government. He worked to make concealed carry licenses available to more non-residents. NRA grade: AQ, endorsed (scores of AQ come from a candidate's questionnaire answers, they have no Second Amendment voting record)
New Mexico
Republican: Susana Martinez

Campaign Site: http://www.susanamartinez2010.com/make-sure-to-vote-early-now/ Susana Martinez is slightly favored in the race that will replace Governor Bill Richardson. Martinez, The Dona Ana County District Attorney, wields a reputation as a tough prosecutor and an endorsement from Sarah Palin, known passion for hunting and the outdoors. She is proud of her A-rating from the NRA and thinks the Department of Game and Fish should decrease non-resident tag quotas and make land-owner permits more accessible and affordable for New Mexicans. NRA grade: AQ
New Mexico
Democrat: Daine Denish

Campaign Site: http://www.dianedenish.com/ Diane Denish is the current Lieutenant Governor and presides over the New Mexico State Senate. Unlike Martinez, 90 percent of Denish's campaign contributions come from within the state and she is supported by Animal Protection Voters. Her son is a professional fly-fishing guide on the San Juan river, so she is familiar with issues facing hunters and anglers. She supports the North American Model of Wildlife Management, with its emphasis on public lands, and believes that a citizen's right to hold and bear arms should not be limited. Currently New Mexico only guarantees 78 percent of its licenses to in-state applicants, compared with almost 90 percent among other states in the region. Senator George Munoz is working on legislation to change this, and says that the two candidates have similar views on issues affecting outdoorsmen, and both agree that New Mexico residents need more tags. NRA grade: AQ
Pennsylvania
Democrat: Dan Onorato

Campaign Site: http://voteonorato.com/splash Both candidates for Pennsylvania Governor have said they would likely support legalizing hunting on Sundays, (which has been banned in most cases since 1873). They also agree that the state needs to re-examine and update its laws regarding alcohol sales. Dan Onorato, the current Allegheny County Chief Executive and former Certified Public Accountant, won the crowded Democratic primary on a platform of challenging the status quo and creative job creation. While leading Allegheny County, created the position of Sustainability Manager and worked to expand parks, trails and outdoor spaces. NRA grade: D
Pennsylvania
Republican: Tom Corbett

Campaign Site: http://www.tomcorbettforgovernor.com/MeetTom/ Corbett won the GOP primary with a convincing 70 percent of the vote. He has a history of defending Second Amendment rights and tripled the number of concealed carry reciprocity agreements for Pennsylvanians while in the office of Attorney General. In May, he announced the formation of a Sportsmen for Corbett Leadership Committee, and has released extensive documentation of his commitment to conservation, education and the interests of the over two million hunters and anglers in the state. He supports natural gas drilling on the Marcella Shale, but believes it can be done while protecting the environment. Unlike Onorato, Corbett said he would sign a bill allowing people to use deadly force to defend themselves inside their home. NRA grade: A, endorsed
Texas
Democrat: Bill White

Campaign Site: http://www.billwhitefortexas.com/ The Texas Tribune says it "will take an act of God" for Bill White to win this election. The former mayor of Houston, White has received criticism for not currently holding a hunting license (though he has previously) and for past membership in Mayors Against Illegal Guns, an organization rumored to be anti-gun. However, a campaign representative says that White loves hiking, camping and cycling, used to take his young sons on fishing trips, and "fights for the Texas way of life, which includes an incredible hunting and sporting tradition." He believes that individual gun ownership is a bedrock constitutional right and opposes new restrictions on it. White also has a track record for cracking down on polluters and expanding energy efficiency programs and park space and is endorsed by the Texas League of Conservation Voters. NRA grade: B
Texas
Republican: Rick Perry

Campaign Site: http://www.rickperry.org/ Incumbent Rick Perry (R) is NRA endorsed. During his previous terms Perry signed legislation solidifying Texans' right to self-defense, extended the time a concealed handgun license is valid, and reduced application fees. He staunchly supports the right to concealed-carry, evidenced by a highly-publicized incident earlier this year in which he shot a coyote with a .308 Ruger pistol he was carrying while on a jog, turning the coyote to "mulch" in his own words. Perry is pro-land rights, has a history of making secessionist statements and recently enjoyed increased popularity with the anti-tax Tea Party. NRA grade: A+, endorsed
South Carolina
Republican: Nikki Haley

Campaign Site: http://www.nikkihaley.com/ Overcoming affair allegations and a runoff in the primary, staunch fiscal and social conservative Nikki Haley won the GOP nomination and has received endorsements from Mitt Romney and Sarah Palin. Haley represents Lexington County in the South Carolina House of Representatives. If elected she will be the South Carolina's first female governor. Haley does not hold a hunting license, though her husband does. She has a concealed weapons permit and is endorsed by Gun Owners of America. NRA grade: A
South Carolina
Democrat: Vincent Sheheen

Campaign Site: http://www.vincentsheheen.com/ A lifelong outdoorsmen, Vincent Sheheen loves to go after bass, catfish, and whitetails with his sons. He has served in the state House of Representatives for four years, where he championed land conservation, and helped found the South Carolina's Sportsmen's Caucus. He says he supports the Second Amendment and recognizes his responsibility to the hunters and anglers of the state. It has been reported that he would agree with a small increase in hunting fees if the money went toward protecting natural resources. NRA Grade: A- Also on the ballot is Amendment 1, which would recognize hunting, fishing and harvesting wildlife as constitutional rights.

Find out which candidates support hunting, fishing and the Second Amendment in some of the closest gubernatorial races around the country. Protect your hunting and fishing rights and votes smart Nov. 2.