Bloomberg Gun Control Group Ignores Democratic Appeal for Leniency

Image: Bloomberg Gun Control Group Ignores Democratic Appeal for Leniency

Tuesday, 07 May 2013 10:56 AM

By Sandy Fitzgerald

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New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg apparently is ignoring an appeal from Democratic leaders to back off his advertising campaign targeting senators who voted against expanded background checks for gun sales.

According to Politico, aides to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid met recently with officials at Bloomberg's Mayors Against Illegal Guns to warn them that targeting vulnerable senators who voted against the gun control measure could backfire on efforts to keep the Senate from falling into Republican hands.

The message, it seems, was not received.

The group plans to put up ads soon against Arkansas Sen. Mark Pryor, Alaska Sen. Mark Begich, and North Dakota Sen. Heidi Heitkamp, who, along with Montana Sen. Max Baucus, were the only Democrats to vote against the background check amendment, reports Politico.

Baucus was to be targeted as well by the Bloomberg group, but has announced his retirement next year.

The group also plans to dispatch 60 field organizers to other states whose Republican senators voted against the amendment under pressure from the National Rifle Association.

Democratic leaders are particularly worried about Pryor's campaign. The Bloomberg group plans to direct its ads at Arkansas' African-American community, "without which Mark Pryor doesn’t have a prayer of getting re-elected,” said Mark Glaze, director of Mayors Against Illegal Guns.

Except for the gun vote, Pryor has supported President Barack Obama and Democratic leaders on other issues like Obamacare and banking reform, and Reid, according to Politico, needs him for immigration votes.

Democratic leaders would prefer the Bloomberg group redirect his campaign against Pryor, Begich, and Heitkamp to back Democrats who supported the background checks bill, but are facing tough re-election bids in states that lean Republican. They note that Americans for Responsible Solutions, a gun-control group financed by former Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, is trying to help lawmakers who backed the background check amendment keep their jobs.

They point to radio ads funded by Giffords' group that praise Democratic Sens. Mary Landrieu of Louisiana and Kay Hagan of North Carolina, as well as Republican Sen. Susan Collins of Maine. All three vote for the legislation, despite a threat from the NRA to campaign against them.

In addition to Bloomberg's group, the White House has also signaled its intention to work against senators, including Democrats, who voted against background checks.

“They are learning that Newtown really did shock the conscience of the nation and that inaction will not be tolerated by Democrats, Republicans or independents,” Vice President Joe Biden wrote in a weekend op-ed piece for The Houston Chronicle.

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