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Sen. Manchin fires back at NRA on gun control

Sen. Joe Manchin says his background checks bill eventually will pass. (AP Photo/Dave Martin)
Sen. Joe Manchin says his background checks bill eventually will pass.

Sen. Joe Manchin isn't up for re-election until 2018, but he expects to run his first re-election ad by the end of the week, fighting back against the NRA's attack on his support for gun control legislation.

The NRA began airing 30-second TV ads attacking the West Virginia Democrat last week, slamming him for sponsoring expanded gun background check legislation in a $100,000 ad buy. Manchin will respond with a matching ad buy, Politico reported on Monday’s Morning Joe. The NRA member and longtime A-rated politician will tape the ads this week in West Virginia.

It's been two months since the Senate shot down the background check deal Manchin struck with Sen. Pat Toomey, a Pennsylvania Republican. Leading up to the vote, Manchin negotiated with the NRA, working with them to implement their suggestions into the bill, but lost the NRA's support at the last minute.

The pair of dueling ads come as the background check fight is gearing up again: gun control advocates led a week of advocacy marking six-month anniversary of the Newtown school shooting, kicking off a second legislative push for background checks. Manchin and others leading the way on background checks hope to bring another vote before the end of the year.

Adding to the slew of advertisements, the NRA also sent out a mailer commending North Dakota Democrat Sen. Heidi Heitkamp for voting against background checks last week.

The debate has become a “very personal dispute” for Manchin and his aides, Politico’s Mike Allen said: Manchin’s chief of staff, Hayden Rogers, a lifetime NRA member has let his membership lapse and pulled the pro-NRA bumper sticker off his car.

Manchin met with the families of victims last week and promised his support and leadership on a second bill.

“This is not politics we are playing, this is real change in real people’s lives,” he told the families.