Bloomberg plays kingmaker
What is the mayor of New York city giving a couple of million dollars to an obscure candidate for the House of Representatives in Illinois?
It's the guns, stupid.
A multimillion-dollar ad blitz by New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg to stop an NRA-backed House candidate in Illinois paid off Tuesday night, as local official Robin Kelly crushed more than a dozen Democratic candidates vying to replace disgraced former Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr.
Bloomberg and gun control proponents seized on the results as evidence of momentum in their push to enact President Barack Obama's gun control package. The mayor will take that message to Washington Wednesday in meetings with Vice President Joe Biden, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) and Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.), according to Bloomberg's public schedule.
Bloomberg's visit coincides with a hearing the Senate Judiciary is slated to hold Wednesday on a proposal to ban assault weapons.
With 72 percent of precincts reporting in the Democratic primary, Kelly, the Cook County chief administrative officer and a former state representative, held a 53 percent to 24 percent lead over Debbie Halvorson, a former congresswoman. Anthony Beale, a Chicago alderman, had 10 percent.
The outcome marked a major win for Bloomberg, who spent around $2.3 million attacking Halvorson for her pro-gun views and propping up Kelly. The ad blitz swamped the underfunded ex-congresswoman and prompted her to brand him as an out-of-town billionaire trying to buy a House seat.
In the wake of the tragic Newtown, Conn. shootings, and with Chicago's violent streets as its backdrop, the race emerged as a referendum on the national debate over gun control. Bloomberg has used his wealth to sway House races before: in 2012, he spent more than $3 million to sink a pro-gun Democrat, Rep. Joe Baca. And his group, Independence USA PAC, spent more than $14 million in races across the country.
His Tuesday win signals that Bloomberg is ready to play another outsize role in 2014, targeting gun-supporting candidates.
Attention gun control supporters. Allow me to inform you of what you have just accomplished:
A carpetbagging mayor has just elected a pro-gun control candidate in the Democratic primary of the most Democratic House district in the nation. Perhaps you can illuminate the reasons you think that this "victory" constitutes an indication of "momentum" for your side? Or maybe you are grasping at straws because the American people as a whole are rejecting the guts of the president's gun control agenda.
Kelly is a shoe-in due to the gerrymandering Illinois Democrats who created the 2nd District to be the most Democratic district in the country. Democratic presidential candidates regularly receive above 80% of the vote and even Jesse Jackson, Jr, and all his problems with his health and the law, who didn't campaign a single day for his seat, won in a landslide in 2012.
Kelly's victory is meaningless to the overall gun control debate.