Senator Richard Burr (R-NC) is locked in a tight race for re-election in a major battleground state was heard on a recording at a get out the vote meeting on Saturday making comments which have landed him back on his heels.
As he was trying to explain why voters who might not necessarily support Donald Trump should still support Republican lawmakers such as himself, Burr tried to highlight gun rights supporters as a key part of his coalition. In the recording, Burr said:
“Nothing made me feel any better than when I walked in a gun shop, I think, yesterday in Oxford. There was a copy of Rifleman on the counter. It’s got a picture of Hillary Clinton on the front of it. I was a little bit shocked at that — didn’t have the bull’s eye on it.”
The Republican later apologized for his comment. “The comment I made was inappropriate, and I apologize for it,” Burr said Monday in a statement issued by his campaign.
In the most recent poll by Elon University, Burr holds a four point lead over his opponent Democrat Deborah Ross. The race has been considered a toss up and one which Democrats believe would propel them to capture the majority in the Senate. In the poll, Burr leads Ross 44 to 40 with the Libertarian candidate getting three percent of voters’ support.
The last time Elon University released a poll of this race in September showed Ross with a slight lead, 44 to 43.
The Talking Points Memo Polltracker Average shows the race as a tossup with Burr leading Ross 45.7 to 44.6. It is difficult to know what impact, if any, Burr’s latest comment will have on his chances of keeping his seat until votes are counted on November 8.
Currently, Hillary Clinton is leading Donald Trump in North Carolina polls. Democrats hold a large lead over Republicans in early voting. However, it is still a smaller lead than they had in 2012 when Mitt Romney ultimately carried the state.