In the fight to reform the Nation’s gun laws, every congressional seat matters. No one is more aware of this than New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, who is arguably the most powerful and influential gun control proponent in the country.
Given that Rep. Jesse L. Jackson Jr. resigned from office last November amidst a federal corruption investigation and has now agreed to plea guilty to misappropriating campaign funds, his seat in the U.S. House of Rep., from Illinois’ Second Congressional District, is up for grabs.
Not one to miss out on an opportunity to buy an election, the billionaire media mogul from the Big Apple is dumping roughly $2 million into the race, backing pro-gun control candidate and Democratic front-runner Robin Kelly while running vicious attack ads against pro-Second Amendment candidate Debbie Halvorson, who is challenging Kelly in the Democratic Primary.
The decision to back Kelly, a former Illinois state representative with a liberal-leaning platform, was made “without blinking” a Bloomberg spokesperson told POLITICO.
“The fact that it’s a special election, the fact that it’s in the middle of a national debate over the president’s plan … [there is an] understanding that it’s both a bellwether and a harbinger.”
The cash that Bloomberg’s spent thus far surpasses the total amount raised from all 17 candidates combined – well, when there was 17 still running. Of course, with that kind of money being laid down, several of the candidates have decided to step aside.
One of those to drop out was former state Sen. Toi Hutchinson, who upon leaving the race endorsed Kelly, a move that was praised by her peers.
“This election is too important for our party to remain divided,” U.S. Rep. Jan Schakowsky of Illinois wrote in a statement. “ I applaud [Hutchinson] for doing what is best for the Democratic Party today and joining the Kelly campaign so Robin can go to Washington to work with me and President Obama for common sense gun safety laws.”
In her own statement, Hutchinson signaled that the fight over gun control was one of the main reasons why she decided to back Kelly over Halvorson.
“In the wake of horrendous gun related crimes all across our country, I agree with Robin that we need to stand together to fight gun violence, but Debbie Halvorson has been wrong headed in her refusal to moderate her views on banning dangerous assault weapons,” she wrote.
“President Obama needs a strong voice and a partner in Congress to win these important fights and I do not believe Debbie Halvorson would be that voice or partner,” she continued.
Not surprisingly, some candidates are miffed by Bloomberg’s involvement in the election. Anthony Beale, an Alderman of the 9th ward of Chicago, voiced his discontent to a local ABC affiliate.
“We’re extremely troubled that we have a billionaire out of New York trying to buy this election, trying to tell the people of the second district who their representative should be,” Beale said.
However, Kelly doesn’t seem to have a problem with the deluge of money being spent to undermine her opposition.
“The NRA has been spending money for years and I think that this particular PAC [Bloomberg’s political action committee is called ‘Independence USA’] they’re counterbalancing what the NRA has been doing for a very long time,” Kelly told ABC News.
Kelly raises an interesting question, is Bloomberg’s financial ‘assistance’ and political involvement no different than that of the nation’s gun lobby?
Is all fair in love and politics?