The National Rifle Association will launch a print advertising campaign targeting mostly Democratic senators up for re-election in 2014, according to sources close to the group.Democrats in the NRA advertising crosshairs include Sen. Mark Pryor of Arkansas, Sen. Mary L. Landrieu of Louisiana and Sen. Kay Hagan of North Carolina. Republican Sen. Susan Collins of Maine, one of the few remaining moderates in the GOP, is also a target of the ads.
On Thursday, full-page ads are scheduled to run in local newspapers in Arkansas, Louisiana, Maine, North Carolina and West Virginia. They will be supplemented by digital advertising in these states and 10 others, including Alaska, Colorado, Montana, New Hampshire and South Dakota.
Because the ads are being placed in local media, the buy is a cheap $375,000. But the industry mouthpiece is not shy about spending millions when it comes to influencing elections. That didn't work out too well for it in 2012, when the 95 percent of the candidates the NRA laid out nearly $18 million for lost at the polls. Six of the seven U.S. Senate candidates it backed were defeated.
The NRA obviously hopes to turn that around next year, figuring no doubt that its wild claims about "gun grabbing" will fall on more receptive ears because of new proposals introduced mostly by Democrats at the state and federal level.
Those proposals, which include universal background checks for all gun purchases, limits on high-capacity gun magazines and a ban on military-style semi-automatic assault weapons, have strong support among Americans, according to polls. But the polls are national in scope and the targets are Democrats in red states where support for some of the proposed gun restrictions—the assault weapons ban especially—are presumably less pronounced, and even a Democrat who opposed passing any new gun laws might be vulnerable because of the party's overall support of them.