ST. PAUL, Minn. — The shooting in Las Vegas, Nevada that left 59 dead and more than 500 hundred injured has begun to shape the race for governor in Minnesota.
For U.S. Rep. Tim Walz, also a gubernatorial candidate, that means choosing a running mate and recanting previous support from the National Rifle Association.
On WCCO’s Sunday show with Esme Murphy, Walz recanted his prior support for the NRA and announced that he would donate money given to him by the pro-Second Amendment group to a charity helping veterans and their families.
“The politics is secondary,” Walz told Murphy on Sunday. “I have got friends who have been, had gun violence in their family and like so many responsible gun owners, it’s what I grew up on.”
Walz, who says the NRA is not “helpful” in supporting legislation to prevent mass shootings says too many shootings have occurred.
“I would say Sandy Hook has come since then, and Las Vegas has come,” Walz told Murphy in relation to why he returned donations from the NRA.
Since Sandy Hook, Walz received $2,000 per election cycle. Before Sandy Hook, Walz received nearly $13,000 from the group.
An endorsement from the NRA was a touted plus by Walz during his congressional campaigns in 2008 and 2010, specifically noting his “A” rating with the gun lobbying group.
“The horrificness of this, this can’t go on. We can’t wake up in the morning like this and I refuse to believe that there aren’t solutions.”
Walz has further sought to distance himself from the gun lobby and past conservative efforts on his part by announcing Minnesota State Rep. Peggy Flanagan (D-St. Louis Park) as his running mate.
Flanagan has supported various democratic causes including the group Protect Minnesota, a pro-gun control group in the Twin Cities.