Surge in spending gives gun control groups hope in midterms

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WASHINGTON (AP) - The National Rifle Association - long seen as a kingmaker in Republican politics - is taking a lower profile in this year's high-stakes midterm campaign.

The organization has put $11 million into races this year - less than half what it spent four years ago in a campaign that gave Republicans full control of Congress. This year's totals are also far below the $54 million the NRA spent in 2016 on both the presidential and congressional races.

At the same time, spending to support stricter gun control has surged.

Everytown for Gun Safety, a group founded by former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, pledged $30 million for this year's election. A political action committee formed by former Rep. Gabby Giffords is spending nearly $5 million.

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In this Oct. 2, 2018 photo, former Rep. Gabby Giffords speaks as her husband, retired NASA astronaut and Navy Capt. Mark Kelly looks on as they kick off "The Vote Save Lives" tour at UNLV in Las Vegas. The 2018 election marks the first time that groups supporting gun control measures could spend more on a campaign than the National Rifle Association. (Bizuayehu Tesfaye/Las Vegas Review-Journal via AP)/Las Vegas Review-Journal via AP) - The Associated Press


FILE- In this Thursday, Feb. 22, 2018, file photo, National Rifle Association Executive Vice President and CEO Wayne LaPierre, speaks at the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC), at National Harbor, Md. The 2018 election marks the first time that groups supporting gun control measures could spend more on a campaign than the National Rifle Association. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin, File) - The Associated Press


In this Oct. 26, 2018 photo, Minnesota gubernatorial candidate, Democrat Tim Walz, right, applauds as Capt. Mark Kelly, left, introduces his wife, former Rep. Gabby Giffords as they hosted a roundtable against gun violence in Minneapolis. The 2018 election marks the first time that groups supporting gun control measures could spend more on a campaign than the National Rifle Association. (AP Photo/Jim Mone) - The Associated Press