The head of the Kansas State Rifle Association on Monday accused the manager of Rep. Jerry Moran's Senate campaign of threatening the organization for endorsing Moran's opponent, U.S. Rep. Todd Tiahrt.
Moran's campaign denied that allegation.
But Patricia Stoneking, the association's president, claimed she received a threatening call from Moran campaign manager, Todd Novascone, shortly after the group announced Friday it was backing Tiahrt.
"He came on very strong," she said. "He told me, 'When Jerry gets elected, you'll be sorry.' "
Stoneking said, "(Novascone) also went on to inform me that I was going to lose my members for making that decision."
Dan Conston, spokesman for the Moran campaign, said in a statement, "Absolutely no one from our campaign threatened her."
Stoneking said the group's board unanimously voted to endorse Tiahrt after hearing from its 3,500 members.
"Part of the reason we made the endorsement was because of strong contact from our members, who all supported Congressman Tiahrt," she said. "They understand the strength and leadership he has brought to standing up for the Second Amendment."
As for Moran's record on the Second Amendment — the right to bear arms — Conston said, "Jerry's consistent pro-gun record has earned him a lifetime 'A' rating from the National Rifle Association."
He noted that the NRA hasn't endorsed either Moran or Tiahrt in the race because of "the strength of both candidates' gun records."
Conston also provided a letter from the Kansas State Rifle Association to its members saying it wouldn't endorse anyone in the Senate primary. Stoneking wrote in the letter that the group's charter "states that the KSRA cannot make any political candidate endorsement contrary to the NRA endorsement, and that includes staying neutral in races where no endorsement is being made by the NRA."