In the Missouri governor’s race, the National Rifle Association (NRA) could have endorsed a former Navy SEAL who fired an assault rifle and Gatling-style military machine gun in an ad, and is Republican. Instead, it has thrown its support behind a Democrat.

The political arm of the group chose Missouri Attorney General Chris Koster over his Republican challenger Eric Greitens, the NRA’s Political Victory Fund announced Tuesday. While Mr. Greitens, a political newcomer, received a strong rating from the NRA, Mr. Koster has a long record of “fighting to preserve the Second Amendment,” said the group.

Koster, a Republican until 2007, is out of step with other Missouri Democrats on gun issues. But he is also part of a dying breed of Democratic politicians across the country that the Washington-based NRA supports. Like many other issue-based organizations, the NRA has become more partisan over the last five years, reported The Trace, a news site that focuses on guns, in May.

Koster is also the first Democratic running for statewide office to be endorsed by the Missouri Farm Bureau, reports the Star.

The NRA’s endorsement of Koster is in line with the group’s long-established “incumbent-friendly” policy. If two candidates are equally supportive of gun rights, the incumbent typically “gets the nod,” Ben Pershing wrote for The Washington Post in 2010.

Read More: CSMonitor

Featured Image – Eric Greitens – Campaign