The National Rifle Association has endorsed U.S. Rep. Chip Cravaack's re-election bid against Democrat Rick Nolan in Minnesota's Eighth Congressional District.

"His strong dedication and voting record have earned him an 'A' rating from the [National Rifle Association-Political Victory Fund], and we proudly endorse him for re-election to the U.S. House," chairman Chris W. Cox said in a statement.

The pro-Second Amendment group gave Nolan an 'F' rating, in part, because he supports "mandatory government issued licenses or permits for law-abiding citizens to buy or possess a firearm."

The candidate rankings are based on voting records, public statements and responses to NRA questionnaires.

Minnesota Republicans consider the endorsement a coup for Cravaack; the NRA endorsed Democrat Jim Oberstar over Cravaack in 2010.

The NRA has spent nearly $1.7 million on independent expenditure ads this election cycle, to either support or oppose candidates. None of that money has been spent in the Eighth District but the group has donated $2,000 to Cravaack's campaign.

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