The National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB), which generally aligns with the GOP, has given its signature “Guardian of Small Business” award to 29 House Democrats in 2010, more than twice as many as it did in 2008. The recipients include some of the party’s most vulnerable incumbents, boosting their standing with a politically popular constituency.
“A number of [the key votes] were votes against the agenda,” noted Rep. Jason Altmire (D-Pa.), one of the Guardian recipients. He said the award demonstrated that “I have a strong record of supporting small businesses.”
The Guardian awards do not constitute an endorsement, but they guarantee that the NFIB won’t actively oppose the recipient for reelection, Close said. The group, which represents approximately 350,000 small businesses nationwide, has endorsed seven House Democrats — Reps. Jim Marshall (Ga.), John Barrow (Ga.), Collin Peterson (Minn.), Jim Matheson (Utah), Lincoln Davis (Tenn.), Mike McIntyre (N.C.) and Dan Boren (Okla.). Close said the NFIB would be endorsing additional candidates through Election Day.
Among the Democrats given the Guardian award but not an endorsement are Reps. Altmire, Frank Kratovil (Md.), Bobby Bright (Ala.), Walt Minnick (Idaho) and Travis Childers (Miss.).
Childers, Bright and Kratovil are among the most vulnerable Democrats in the country this year, and all five face tough reelection races.