Political Notebook

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Gun-rights groups back Hoosier Republicans

Gun-rights advocates have contributed more than $585,000 to the campaigns of state and federal political candidates in Indiana since 1989, according to research by the non-partisan Sunlight Foundation.

Gun-control supporters have given less than $9,800 to Hoosier campaigns in that time.

Indiana ranked 16th nationally in the amount of money that gun-rights groups donated to candidates. California was first at nearly $2.57 million.

Nationwide, gun-rights groups have made $28.3 million in direct contributions to candidates since 1989, while gun-control groups have contributed $1.9 million, the Sunlight Foundation reported Monday.

The foundation identified its data sources as the Center for Responsive Politics and the National Institute on Money in State Politics.

In the most recent election cycle, gun-rights advocates – including the National Rifle Association, Safari Club International and people associated with gun-rights groups – backed five of the six Republicans who won congressional seats in Indiana.

Only Fort Wayne native Susan Brooks, who was elected in the 5th District, did not receive contributions ahead of the Nov. 6 election. Brooks did get an NRA contribution for $1,000 about two weeks later, according to a post-election campaign finance report filed with the Federal Election Commission.

Rep. Marlin Stutzman, R-3rd, received $3,500 in donations, less than any Hoosier Republican except freshman Rep. Luke Messer, R-6th. Both Stutzman and Messer won election in districts where they were heavy favorites to defeat their Democratic rivals.

Gun-rights advocates contributed more than $19,400 to the campaign of Richard Mourdock, who defeated six-term incumbent Sen. Richard Lugar in the Republican primary election but was beaten by Democrat Joe Donnelly in the general election.

No Indiana Democrats in the 2011-12 election cycle received contributions from gun-rights groups, according to Sunlight Foundation data, and no candidates of either party collected donations from gun-control advocates.