Oct 31, 2018

How NRA spending shows the shifting midterms landscape

Michael Bloomberg behind a podium on stage

Michael Bloomberg. Photo: Bill Pugliano/Getty Images.

In the days leading up to the midterm elections, several gun control groups have seen a spike in their spending as part of a larger effort to elect candidates that will back their policies, the Associated Press reports.

Why it matters: The desire for policy change is finally backed by big money. U.S. gun-control groups have outspent gun-rights groups for the midterm elections by 40%, unraveling the NRA's longstanding dominance in spending on gun politics.

Between the lines: The shift has largely been a result of several high-profile mass shootings, including those in Las Vegas, Parkland, and most recently a Pittsburgh synagogue. The NRA's 2018 rebranding issue has also been a contributing factor.

By the numbers

The drop in the NRA's political spending is a rare shift, one that hasn't occurred in 20 years, according to data from the Federal Election Commission:

  • The NRA spent $11 million for midterm races this year, nearly half of what gun-control groups spent, per the same data.

Meanwhile Everytown for Gun Safety, a group founded by former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, has pledged to dedicate $30 million to the 2018 midterms.

  • After the Pittsburgh shooting, Everytown bought an additional $700,000 in advertisements targeting Rep. Mike Coffman (R-Colo.).

The PAC for former Rep. Gabby Giffords, who was wounded in a shooting in 2011, is spending nearly $5 million.

  • In October, Giffords' PAC spent $1.3 million on an ad blasting Rep. Jason Lewis (R-Minn.) for accepting "corporate gun lobby money" from the NRA.

Mike Bloomberg alone is spending $120 million on the midterms, with a portion of the total going toward gun control groups in an effort to match or surpass the NRA's spending.

What to watch: The NRA could still throw in more money last-minute. The final numbers will come out after the election.

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Correction: An earlier version of this story labeled former Rep. Gabby Giffords as Sen. Gabby Giffords.

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