Giffords gun group makes bipartisan 2014 picks

The gun control group founded by former Rep. Gabby Giffords (D-Ariz.) and her husband, former astronaut Mark Kelly, announced a bipartisan list of candidates it plans to support this fall.

The list from Americans for Responsible Solutions is heavy on Democrats in competitive races who backed the bipartisan legislation to tighten background checks last spring: Sens. Mary Landrieu (D-La.), Mark Udall (D-Colo.), Kay Hagan (D-N.C.) and Al Franken (D-Minn.); and Reps. Ron Barber (D-Ariz.), Ann Kuster (D-N.H.), Carol Shea-Porter (D-N.H.), and Bruce Braley (D-Iowa), who is running for the Senate.

But the group is also backing Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine), who's favored for reelection, and Rep. Mike Fitzpatrick (R-Pa.), in a closely watched race.

ARS senior advisor Pia Carusone admitted the list leaned Democratic but said that wasn't the group's goal.

"We would in some ways love nothing more than to have a bigger list of Republican incumbents we could support," she said on a Tuesday afternoon conference call. "There's a lot of Democratic incumbents on this list but it's not entirely that. It's a bipartisan list."

Carusone said the group's goal was to make gun control "a wash" in the 2014 elections and counter the National Rifle Association's outsized influence on elections. ARS had nearly $15 million in the accounts for its super-PAC as of the last reporting period and she predicted it would spend well beyond the $20 million the group initially hoped to raise on this election.

Kelly said the group would keep working into future years to push for bipartisan compromise on gun control.

"We need leaders that are ready to shatter the tired myth that you can't be both pro-gun rights and pro-gun violence prevention," he said.

The group's early list doesn't target any sitting lawmakers who opposed the law, but hinted that Rep. Mike Coffman (R-Colo.) might be a target, and said they might play in the race to replace retiring Rep. Tom Latham (R-Iowa).

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