The National Rifle Association is endorsing Rep. Mike Simpson (R-Idaho), giving him a boost against Tea Party candidate Bryan Smith (R).
The NRA's endorsement could give him a big bump in the rural district — Idaho has a high rate of gun ownership, and the NRA support helps shore up Simpson's conservative bona fides.
Simpson, a close friend and ally of House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio), has become a top target of conservative outside groups this year. The Club for Growth and Senate Conservatives Fund are both backing Smith in the race. CFG has already spent in the race, and released a web video on Monday hitting Simpson as a "Republican in Name Only."
Whoever wins the GOP primary will be heavily favored this fall, but former Rep. Richard Stallings (D) hopes to take advantage of the party's divisions as he makes a comeback bid for the seat he once held. Stallings, who was in Congress from 1984 until 1992 before making a losing bid for Senate, announced over the weekend.
"I have no allusions that this will be an easy campaign," he told the Twin Falls Times-News.