The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee lists 63 Democratic House candidates on its "red to blue" list of challengers who could flip critical GOP seats in November. All but one campaigned to expand background checks for gun purchases, and none has NRA support.
Democrats competing in conservative states historically have avoided making gun control a core plank in their campaigns for fear of alienating gun-rights advocates. But this year, many Democrats are emboldened by the groundswell of outrage over gun violence, opposition to the NRA and polls suggesting that Americans want stronger gun control.
The party-wide shift on gun control in the primaries stems from mobilization following recent high-profile mass shootings in Las Vegas, Sutherland Springs, Texas, and Parkland, Florida. Democratic candidates this year were also fueled by grassroots pro-gun control organizations, which have seen an unprecedented spike in individual donations since 2016, according to public filings, and an uptick in volunteers since the Parkland shooting.
Last week, Democrats touted what they called evidence of illegal coordination between the NRA and Montana GOP Senate candidate
Matt Rosendale on an ad buy after a leaked audio recording was published Thursday by the Daily Beast. Democrats said the audio indicates that the nominee and the NRA violated federal laws prohibiting campaigns from working with interest groups on political advertising. Rosendale's campaign denied illegal activity.
The NRA historically has backed more Republicans than Democrats, but the division is especially stark this year. During the 2012 elections, the NRA made campaign contributions to 30 Democratic House candidates. It supported 10 in the 2014 midterms and four in the 2016 presidential election. This year, the NRA is only backing three, according to public filings. Attacking the NRA, which claims a membership of nearly 5 million, is a political gamble for Democrats.
"This doesn't usually happen," said Robert Spitzer, political scientist at the State University of New York at Cortland and author of five books on gun policy. "Political rallying of the Parkland students and their allies have gotten more Democrats to embrace a gun safety agenda, speak about it publicly and even brag about being opposed by the NRA. And it's prompted the NRA to heighten opposition against these candidates."
In a 2018 primary that saw a major ideological divide in the Democratic Party between centrist incumbents and a wave of candidates running to their left, the unified shift toward pro-gun control measures represents another issue in which few Democrats now dissent, similar to the national party's stance on abortion rights and support for same-sex marriage.
Source : https://www.cnbc.com/2018/09/18/former-pro-gun-democrats-reject-the-nra-and-triumph-in-primaries.html437