Dale Crafts, who’s been in a wheelchair for 37 years, sometimes disguises it for hunting. He posted this picture on Facebook in 2019 after hunting turkey on his Lisbon property. Submitted photo

During an interview Tuesday on “The Howie Carr Show,” Republican congressional contender Dale Crafts mistakenly claimed the Sportsman’s Alliance of Maine had endorsed him.

It hasn’t.

David Trahan, executive director of the alliance, said Wednesday that he notified Crafts, who serves on the group’s board of directors, about the error and asked him “not to do it again.”

Crafts, who is seeking to unseat 2nd Congressional District U.S. Rep. Jared Golden in the Nov. 3 election, was stunned to hear that Crafts had declared on the syndicated talk radio show out of Boston that “I got the endorsement” of the alliance.

“Did I say that?” he asked Wednesday. “If I said that, I was absolutely wrong. I don’t know why I said that. Nobody got the endorsement.”

He called back a little later to add, “I definitely said it. I wish I hadn’t. That was definitely a slip on that one.”

Trahan said both Golden and Crafts got “terrific grades” from the alliance. Neither of them were endorsed, he said.

Margaret Reynolds, campaign manager for Golden, said it’s wrong for any candidate for public office “to mischaracterize” the alliance’s endorsements.

Jared Golden, a combat veteran, has one of the most pro-gun records of any Democrat in the U.S. House.

“Today’s lie from our opponent — whether intentional or not — is just the latest false claim launched against the congressman that has been debunked by news organizations,” she said. “It’s our hope that our opponent can be more honest with Mainers going forward.”

Keith Herrick, a Crafts spokesman, said Crafts “meant to say that the NRA endorsed him,” not the alliance.

Crafts said he typically reels off his gun rights credentials during speeches and interviews, including his strong backing from the National Rifle Association and the Gun Owners of Maine, without botching the facts.

Trahan said he understands that it is “easy to get nervous and flub up” on the radio in the middle of a campaign so he’s not upset with Crafts. It happens, he said, and he’s sure it was not a deliberate misrepresentation.

He called Crafts is a longtime friend of the alliance and a gun rights ally.

Golden, on the other hand, came under fire from the group in the past for failing to fill in its questionnaire in his 2018 race when the Democrat defeated two-term U.S. Rep. Bruce Poliquin, a Republican.

Since then, though, Trahan said he’s talked often with Golden and “really established a good relationship with him.”

The National Rifle Association, which gave Crafts an A+ for his record, along with its backing, has warmed on Golden as well.

Four years ago, Golden got a D from the NRA, but he now rates a B from the group, an indication the first-term congressman has proved friendlier to gun rights than most of his party.

The 2nd District, one of the most rural in the nation, has an affinity for guns. Four years ago, its voters in all 11 counties within the district shot down a background check referendum that the Portland-centric 1st District supported.

When the House last year considered a similar measure for the nation as a whole, Golden opposed it.

He said at the time, “Maine isn’t Chicago, Washington, or New York. For many of my constituents, access to firearms is a necessary part of daily life and we have a tradition of responsible gun ownership.”


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