Republican Agriculture Commissioner candidate Matt Caldwell
File photo

The National Rifle Association has endorsed State Representative Matt Caldwell, Republican candidate for state Agriculture Commissioner. This is the NRA Political Victory Fund’s first endorsement of a statewide candidate. Other than governor, who is elected agriculture commissioner is important to Second Amendment supporters because that office oversees concealed weapons permit licensing in Florida.

“I’m proud to have received the endorsement of the NRA. Floridians can trust me to stand strong in defense of their constitutional freedoms,” said Caldwell. “I am the only candidate to consistently have an A+ NRA rating, and I am honored that they have placed their trust in me with a full endorsement. I am an unwavering defender of the 2nd Amendment because I believe what our Founders believed: our rights come from God, not politicians.”

Caldwell, who has served in the Florida House since 2008, was one of 19 Republicans who voted against the gun bill the became law following the mass shooting at Parkland High School. The NRA fought against the bill because it placed additional restrictions on gun ownership in Florida.

Past NRA President Marion Hammer, the organizations point person in Florida called Caldwell a strong supporter of the Second Amendment. “Matt Caldwell is the only candidate in this race with a perfect record of unyielding support of the Second Amendment to our Constitution. His background of active, dedicated legislative service to advancing the cause of Freedom and protecting Second Amendment rights has been outstanding. That’s why we trust him to administer Florida’s Concealed Weapons and Firearms Licensing Program.  Law abiding gun owners need someone they can trust.”

Caldwell is one of three Republicans running to replace Adam Putnam, who is running for governor. Former state Representative Baxter Troutman has an F-rating from the NRA while state Senator Denise Grimsley has a D-rating. The third Republican, Mike McCalister, has no rating from the NRA because he hasn’t held elected office. In addition there are three Democrats running for agriculture commissioner.