The Washington Times - December 18, 2013, 07:30AM

The National Rifle Association’s political fund has endorsed Republican Sen. John Cornyn ahead of next year’s primary, putting another dent in his outspoken challenger’s hopes of painting the incumbent as a weak-kneed conservative.

Mr. Cornyn, of Texas, will square off in the party primary against Rep. Steve Stockman, a Republican with a penchant for attention-grabbing comments. On Tuesday, Mr. Stockman’s campaign said donors could get their own “Obama barf bag” for $10.

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A primary challenge from the far right is a constant worry for Republican incumbents, but Mr. Stockman’s last-minute decision this month to challenge Mr. Cornyn has not eroded the senator’s clout with outside conservative groups so far. The powerful Club for Growth has said it will stay out the of race.

The NRA’s Political Victory Fund took it further on Wednesday by throwing its weight behind Mr. Cornyn.

“John Cornyn is a consistent and passionate champion of our Second Amendment rights,” said Chris Cox, chairman of NRA-PVF. “He has earned an A+ rating and endorsement from NRA-PVF through his leadership in defending our Right to Keep and Bear Arms.”

In a statement, Mr. Cornyn said Wednesday the right to bear arms is a “sovereign one,” and that hunting and shooting sports are a rich part of Texas tradition.

“As the Obama political machine sets their sights on turning our state blue, I’m proud of the support of the most respected gun rights organization in the nation,” Mr. Cornyn said. “No organization in the country works harder on behalf of gun owners than the NRA, and I look forward to continuing to stand alongside them on the front lines for years to come.”