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Gun control group backs GOP's Fitzpatrick

WASHINGTON – Bucks County Congressman Mike Fitzpatrick was the lone House Republican to receive a promise of support Tuesday from a pro-gun control group led by former Congresswoman Gabby Giffords.

Giffords' political action committee, Americans for Responsible Solutions, rolled out a list of 11 candidates they plan to financially support in this fall's elections. Just two were Republicans: Fitzpatrick and Sen. Susan Collins (R., Me.).

The endorsement could be a powerful one for a Republican in a moderate swing district that covers Bucks and part of Montgomery County. Democrats have made the race a top priority and have nominated former Army Ranger Kevin Strouse.

Fitzpatrick was one of few Republicans to sign onto a bill to expand background checks for gun purchases last year when the issue rose to the forefront following the Sandy Hook school shooting in Newtown, Conn. After Sen. Pat Toomey (R., Pa.) co-sponsored a Senate plan to expand background checks, Fitzpatrick endorsed the measure and became an original co-sponsor of a House version.

The House did not take any votes on expanding gun laws, though, after Toomey's bill failed in the Senate.

Giffords, a former Arizona Congresswoman, has become a crusader for tougher gun laws after being shot in the head in Tuscon, Ariz. in 2011. Her group is trying to compete with organizations such as the NRA, which opposes new gun laws and often uses its considerable political muscle against those who push for such laws.

Each of the races Giffords' group has cited is a potentially competitive contest. A Giffords aide told reporters that Americans for Responsible Solutions could expand the list of races it tries to influence as November elections get closer.

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