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In Harrisburg and D.C., the NRA has opponents outgunned

During his 2010 campaign, Pennsylvania Senator Pat Toomey once joked, "My idea of gun control is a steady aim." And even when horrors like the shootings in Newtown, Conn., shake the conscience of a nation, the National Rifle Association maintains a steady grip on Pennsylvania politicians. In the 2010 and 2012 election cycles, the NRA spent more than $2 million on races for Congress, the state Legislature and the governor's office. (That total includes money contributed directly to the candidates, as well as independent ads either supporting a candidate or attacking a rival.) 

And while some longtime NRA supporters — like West Virginia Senator Joe Manchin — have expressed a willingness to discuss gun-control in the wake of the Newtown killings, the NRA's money in Pennsylvania appears to have been well-targeted. Gov. Tom Corbett called mass shootings "a mental health issue" and said that since assault weapons were "already out there," new gun regulation "isn't going to make them safer." Toomey, meanwhile, issued a statement calling for "a thoughtful dialogue" on mental-health and other issues, without mentioning guns.

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Sources: Campaign-finance and independent-expenditure data maintained by the Center for Responsive Politics, campaign-finance reports on file at the Pennsylvania Department of State

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