Gabby Giffords ad to benefit US senator in Maine

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By Catherine Holland By Catherine Holland

WASHINGTON (AP) -- Gabby Giffords is running a new television advertising campaign to benefit U.S. Sen. Susan Collins of Maine in her Republican campaign for re-election.

Collins is one of just two Republicans nationwide to get the backing of the former Democratic Arizona congresswoman's political action committee. The group, Americans for Responsible Solutions, is promoting what it calls "common sense" gun reforms such as expanded background checks.

The ad praises Collins for working with both political parties "to advance common sense - keeping guns out of the hands of the dangerously mentally ill and domestic abusers."

Group spokesman Mark Prentice described the ad campaign, entitled "Steady for Maine," as a six-figure investment set to begin airing Tuesday and run on cable and network TV throughout the state for two weeks.

Giffords has become the face of the gun control movement since being shot through the head during a 2011 attack that killed six people. She and her husband, former astronaut Mark Kelly, formed the political action committee and partner nonprofit organization in the aftermath of the December 2012 killings of 20 children and six adults at an elementary school in Newtown, Connecticut.

The Maine Senate contest is among a dozen races nationwide that has drawn interest from Giffords' group.

Collins was among a handful of Republicans who supported a bill to expand background checks that was defeated last year in the Senate. Democrats have struggled to advance new gun-control measures this year.

Collins faces Democrat Shenna Bellows on Nov. 4.

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