Gun Rights and the Senate

Gun Rights and the Senate
Top campaign donations by "gun rights" lobbying groups during 2018 midterm election cycle

Gun rights lobbying groups are a powerful political force in America. Using OpenSecrets data on “gun rights” donations to election campaigns, I charted the total amounts contributed to different senators throughout the years.

Here’s what I found:

2018 Midterms

When Senator Ted Cruz was up for re-election during the 2018 midterms, he received the most gun rights contributions (over $300K) out of all Senate candidates. Former Senator Martha McSally was second, receiving over $225K in the lead up to a special election for the Senate seat she eventually won.

The majority of the top 30 Senate candidates were Republican candidates, with only 4 Democrat Senate candidates receiving any donations from gun rights lobbyists.

2020 Election

During the 2020 general election, incumbent Martha McSally received just over half a million dollars in campaign donations from gun rights lobbying groups. This was followed by fellow Republican Senate incumbents David Perdue and Kelly Loeffler who both received around $300K. They all lost their seats to Democrat candidates.

Other notable Republican Senators included Lindsey Graham ($190K) and Mitch McConnell ($110K).

Again, gun rights donations mostly went to Republican Senators again during this cycle. Interestingly though, there were 3 non-Republican Senators who received gun rights campaign donations during that cycle: Independent Senator Bernie Sanders ($7.8K) and Democrat Elizabeth Warren ($3.3K), and now VP Kamala Harris ($1.2K).

So far, during the 2022 Midterms…

As we near the 2022 midterms, we can see that Republican Senators Rand Paul and John Kennedy have both received the most in gun rights contributions so far (each with $38K). Again donations are mostly to Republican Senators. This time however, the only Senate Democrat to receive donations is Senator Joe Manchin ($5K).