Mitt Romney’s presidential campaign on Monday announced the formation of its Sportsmen for Romney coalition, a group that includes Red Sox legend Wade Boggs as a national co-chair.
In a statement, Romney said hunters, fishermen and other outdoor enthusiasts “will have a friend in the White House” if he is elected.
“The wealth of this nation is not only in our industries and our businesses. We are blessed with great natural beauty as well,” Romney said. “It is the sportsmen and women of America who keep safe that natural wealth for this generation and many more to come.”
Romney earned the endorsement of the National Rifle Association earlier this month after positioning himself as a strong defender of the Second Amendment. Romney has, at times, oversold his progun credentials. During his first White House bid four years ago, Romney told a New Hampshire man wearing an NRA hat, “I’ve been a hunter pretty much all my life” but later admitted he had been hunting only twice in his life.
And Romney has been viewed skeptically by some gun owners who recall his signature on an assault weapons ban in Massachusetts and a 300-percent increase in state gun license fees when he was governor.
But in endorsing Romney on Oct. 4, NRA Executive Vice President Wayne LaPierre called the GOP nominee the “one hope to save our firearms freedom.”
Romney’s running mate, Representative Paul Ryan of Wisconsin, is an avid bowhunter and was named the national honorary chairman of Sportsmen for Romney.
Other prominent coalition leaders include NASCAR team owner Richard Childress, comedian Jeff Foxworthy and skeet shooter Kim Rhode, a five-time Olympic medalist. Romney led the planning committee for the 2002 Winter Games in Salt Lake City.
Boggs, a member of the Baseball Hall of Fame, is also a noted hunter and fisherman.
“When I retired I needed to find something to replace the adrenaline rush I got when I stepped into the batter’s box,” Boggs told Forbes magazine in 2009. “I found that hunting big game. They say you could die in the batter’s box. Maybe. But you definitely face death in a lion blind.”Callum Borchers can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @callumborchers.