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Bloomberg Takes Aim at Democrats Over Gun Votes

Image: Bloomberg Takes Aim at Democrats Over Gun Votes

By Lisa Barron   |   Wednesday, 12 Jun 2013 01:13 PM

New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg is upping the ante in his push for stricter gun control, asking the city's top donors to cut off contributions to four Democratic senators who voted against universal background checks in April.

Bloomberg was expected on Wednesday to send personal letters to hundreds of the biggest Democratic donors in New York asking them to stop sending campaign money to the four senators — Mark Pryor of Arkansas, Max Baucus of Montana, Mark Begich of Alaska, and Heidi Heitkamp of North Dakota — who helped block the background-check bill, reports The New York Times.

Latest: Do You Support the NRA on Gun Rights? Vote in Urgent Poll

Baucus is retiring and Heitkamp does not face re-election until 2018, but for Pryor and Begich, the letter comes as they are gearing up for tough re-election fights in Republican-friendly states.

According to the Times, New York is critical to the party's fund-raising, with donors contributing $30.4 million to sitting Democratic senators and the Democratic Senatorial Campaign in 2012.

The four senators targeted by Bloomberg have raised more than $2.2 million from New York, the Times reports.

Bloomberg already has come after Pryor, spending $350,000 on a television campaign in Arkansas that expressed "disappointment" with the senator for opposing the bill expanding background checks.

Explaining the impetus for his latest move in an interview Wednesday on MSNBC's "Morning Joe," Bloomberg said, "What's surprising is you have an issue that 85 to 90 percent of people in virtually every state, gun owners and non-gun owners, NRA members and non-NRA members, agree on. We don't want to sell guns to people with criminal records or mental problems, and yet Congress doesn't go along."

"It's hard to see how that maintains itself, and in the end you've got to believe the public is going to win this battle," he said.

Bloomberg said he is not limiting his efforts to the Democrats, explaining, "The first thing I've got to do is get it through the Senate… and then you go and sit down with (Rep. John) Boehner and (Rep. Eric) Cantor and the leadership on the Republican side in the House and say, 'Look, if you want your members to get re-elected, they should vote with the public.'

"This is not a partisan thing. This is saving lives," Bloomberg continued. "This is something I feel very strongly about."

Bloomberg also defended his use of pocketbook politics against the Democratic senators.

"Going after these guys and saying, 'Don't give money to them if they don't vote the way you want' is the way a democracy should work. You support the people you agree with and do not support the people you don't agree with," he said. "I'm not the first one to do this. We've always don’t this."

Pryor, for one, is fighting back, with help. The National Shooting Sports Foundation has launched a radio campaign in Arkansas supporting the senator and his vote against background checks.

Latest: Do You Support the NRA on Gun Rights? Vote in Urgent Poll

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