Sen. Elizabeth Warren provided an irresistible opening for her Republican campaign foes with her vow to turn down National Rifle Association contributions to her re-election effort, which are so far nonexistent.
The campaign of Massachusetts state Rep. Geoff Diehl, one of several candidates vying for the Republican Senate nomination, blasted her announcement as a “publicity stunt.”
“Elizabeth Warren has never helped 2nd Amendment supporters, and has never worked to represent the many MA citizens who are in favor of upholding their 2nd Amendment rights,” said the Diehl camp in a Thursday statement. “This action on her part is just a stunt to gain publicity.”
The campaign added that Ms. Warren should promise instead to stop taking taxpayer money, “which she has a history of misusing.”
Ms. Warren became the first U.S. senator to take the “No NRA Money” pledge, declaring in a video last week that she would not accept “a single penny” from the gun-rights group, even though she has never received such donations in the past.
“The people of Massachusetts deserve to be represented by someone who will put their interests ahead of the NRA’s demands,” she said in the NowThis video. “It’s time we strip the NRA of its stranglehold over our children’s lives and our community’s safety.”
Republican Senate candidate Beth Lindstrom, who served in former Gov. Mitt Romney’s cabinet, also wasn’t impressed by the Warren pledge, calling it “another example of her grandstanding.”
“I don’t think her taking this ‘no NRA money’ [pledge] is a brave statement,” said Ms. Lindstrom in a Tuesday interview on Boston Herald radio with host Joe Battenfeld. “What would be more impressive I think to folks is if she was to say she was not taking money from Wall Street, because that’s where she postures herself, as the anti-Wall Street candidate.”
The list of about 200 candidates taking the “No NRA Money” pledge includes a host of Democrats in no danger of receiving such funds, including House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, Rep. Ted Lieu of California and Rep. Jan Schakowsky of Illinois.
Ms. Warren doesn’t exactly need the NRA cash: She raised $3.12 million in the first quarter of 2018, or about 10 times more than her leading Republican opponent, and had $15 million cash on hand at the end of March, according to Politico.
The progressive standard-bearer, often mentioned as a 2020 presidential contender, holds a comfortable lead in the blue-state race, besting each of her top three Republican foes by at least 30 percentage points, according to a WBUR poll taken in mid-March.
The Massachusetts primary is slated for Sept. 4.