The National Rifle Association (NRA) is spending steadily in next month's toss up Florida congressional race between Democrat Alex Sink and Republican David Jolly. The latest expenditures bring the gun group's investment in the Tampa Bay special election at nearly $108,000, according to data found in Sunlight's Real-Time FEC tracker.
The March 11 election for a seat that Rep. Bill Young, R-Fla., occupied for more than four decades before his death last October,has attracted more than $5.4 million in outside spending from outside groups, dwarfing the $1.1 million spent so far by the candidates themselves. Most of this outside spending — $3.2 million — is benefitting Jolly. His main backers other than the National Republican Congressional Committee are the American Action Network, American Crossroads and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.
The NRA is not the biggest spender in the election, but it marks the first time the gun group has jumped into a race this calendar year. The most recent spending — dated February 25 — is for internet ads in the conservative outlet The Daily Caller.
NRA's PAC has raised $12.5 million so far this election cycle and is sitting on more than $12.2 million of that cash to play in the 2014 elections. Typically the NRA PAC gets involved late in a race via independent expenditures. In the 2012 elections, the NRA spent $11.2 million on independent expenditures. Sunlight calculated that the NRA's return on investment in those elections was .83% — that was the amount spent on the general election that ended in the desired result.