Ruth, who holds an “AQ” rating with the National Rifle Association, was using the logo in advertising and promotions for his re-election.
The issue surfaced when Watson took the incumbent to task for claiming he had an NRA endorsement. Ruth countered by saying he holds a letter of NRA endorsement from his 2010 campaign, and he had been advised he could continue to use it in his 2014 campaign.
“I was told I could use it anyway I wanted to for my campaign,” Ruth said today. “I was elected sheriff and I am still the sheriff. There was no time limit.”
Ruth then acknowledged, “I have talked to NRA officials in Nashville and they told me not to use the logo in brochures. I haven’t, even though the 2010 letter said I could use it as I saw fit.”
In challenging Ruth’s right to use the NRA logo, Watson referred to a news media statement recently released by Trevor Santos, a spokesman for the NRA Political Victory Fund.
“... [The Santos media statement] made it absolutely clear Mr. Ruth’s continued claim that he has been endorsed in this race by the NRA is a complete fabrication on his (Ruth’s) part,” Watson stressed.
The challenger, who is finishing a two-year term as a state legislator representing the 22nd Legislative District in the House of Representatives, said the NRA statement validates his claim Ruth should not be claiming the organization’s endorsement for the current political race.
“It came as no surprise to me that the National Rifle Association felt it necessary to issue a formal denial of Jim Ruth’s claim that he received an NRA endorsement in the 2014 campaign for Bradley County sheriff,” Watson said in a press statement. “Mr. Ruth has made this claim in newspaper ads and mailouts in recent days, even after the NRA asked him to stop.”
Watson said he has “... urged Mr. Ruth to keep this election about the issues and about his record as sheriff.”
According to the NRA Political Victory Fund grading definitions, an “AQ” rating applies to “... a pro-gun candidate whose rating is based solely on the candidates’ responses to the NRA-PVF Candidate Questionnaire and who does not have a voting record on Second Amendment issues.”
Ruth said today his future ads will not have the NRA logo, although he has been a longtime member of the organization since the early 1990s, and had the organization’s support during his first race for sheriff four years ago.