The National Rifle Association has put $11 million into midterm races this year — less than half what it spent four years ago in an election that gave Republicans full control of Congress. Everytown for Gun Safety, founded by ex-NYC Mayor Michael Bloomberg, is spending more than $30 million.
The National Rifle Association — long a kingmaker in Republican politics — is taking a lower profile in this year’s midterm campaign, a sign of the shifting dynamics of the gun debate as the GOP fights to maintain its grip on Congress, the Associated Press reports. The NRA has put $11 million into midterm races this year — less than half what it spent four years ago in an election that gave Republicans full control of Congress. This year’s totals are far below the $54 million the group spent in 2016 on both the presidential and congressional races. The shift comes as spending to support tougher gun control measures has surged. Everytown for Gun Safety, a group founded by ex-New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, pledged $30 million for this year’s election and has continued to put new money into competitive races in the final days. A political action committee formed by ex-Rep. Gabby Giffords (D-AZ) is spending nearly $5 million.
It’s the first time under current campaign finance laws that the NRA might be outspent by gun control groups, though the organization often ramps up spending late in the campaign. That money won’t show up in federal reports until after Election Day. The spending shift underscores a changing political landscape on guns after a series of election year mass shootings, including the February massacre at a Parkland, Fl., high school that left 17 people dead, and Saturday’s attack at a Pittsburgh synagogue. “The politics of guns has changed,” said Jim Kessler, the senior vice president for policy at Third Way, a centrist think tank. “The groups supporting more gun safety restrictions are smarter than in the past and have more resources, both in terms of people and money, than in the past.”