The good news? If this guy’s going to start throwing his money around, making sure gun-grabbing Democratic districts stay represented by Democratic gun-grabbers is the least damage he can do. The better news? The more time he spends trying to buy congressional seats, the less time he has to focus on banning Styrofoam or ice cream or paper clips or whatever his next target is in NYC. The best news? With every million he antes up for progressives, the left’s insufferable screeching about the Koch brothers grows a bit fainter and more ridiculous.
Alternate headline: “Gun violence in Chicago ends.”
Former state Rep. Robin Kelly easily won the special Democratic primary Tuesday night in the race to replace the disgraced Jesse Jackson Jr. in Congress, helped by millions of dollars in pro-gun control ads from New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s political fund.
A snowstorm and lack of voter interest kept turnout low as Kelly had 52 percent to 25 percent for former U.S. Rep. Debbie Halvorson and 11 percent for Chicago 9th Ward Ald. Anthony Beale with 99 percent of precincts counted…
“We all know how rough it was for me to have to run an election against someone who spent ($2.2) million against me,” Halvorson said at Homewood restaurant. “Every 7½ minutes there was a commercial.”
Halvorson had an “A” rating from the NRA and said publicly she’d oppose any new federal assault-weapons ban, which was a bold, principled, and … baffling position to take if you’re running in a newly redistricted liberal enclave in Chicago. Check the NYT’s infographic to see how Bloomy used that $2.2 million against her. Clearly he was the deciding factor, no? Actually, maybe not. Dave Weigel provides a reality check:
Bloomberg’s money helped, obviously, but let’s not lose ourselves in the results. One: Illinois’s second is one of the most Democratic districts in the country, one of few where a pure anti-gun message can win. Two: Halvorson ran in the 2012 primary, too, trying to take out Rep. Jesse Jackson, who was already sagging under the weight of scandal. Halvorson got creamed, winning 24 percent of the vote — similar to what she got last night. Three: The worry among Democrats was never that Halvorson would take a majority in the primary. The worry was that black Democrats would crowd the primary and allow Halvorson to win with somewhere between 25-30 percent of the vote.
Once Bloomberg threw his money behind one of the candidates — in this case, Kelly — the outcome was a fait accompli. That ended up clearing the field of most other black Democrats, leaving Halvorson with no shot realistically. As for why the NRA didn’t intervene heavily on Halvorson’s behalf, I assume that’s because it was high risk and low reward. In a district as blue as this one, the NRA’s endorsement would have inadvertently helped Bloomberg out by driving more Democrats over to Kelly. And if the NRA went all in on a race like that and lost, it’d make the breathless coverage of Bloomy’s “big win” today even more breathless. The media’s desperate for a wealthy NRA dragon-slayer to emerge and he’s volunteering for the job. The NRA will engage eventually, but I’m sure it’d rather do so on firmer ground than a Democratic primary in Chicago.
He’ll be on the Hill today, fresh off his victory, to throw some weight around with Harry Reid and John McCain. Suspense mounts: Will Bloomy convince Reid to bring Feinstein’s assault-weapons ban to the floor, where it’ll fail dismally? Will he threaten Mark Pryor and Mark Begich with Democratic primary challenges if they insist on voting no, thereby assuring GOP pick-ups in Arkansas and Alaska? Stay tuned. I’ll leave you with this fun fact from Joel Pollak, in case you’re feeling the least bit sorry for Halvorson: “In 2010, Obama’s Organizing for America sent activists to create Astroturf demonstrations on her behalf, in which they mocked her opponent, Rep. Adam Kinzinger, as Hitler. Now the boot is on the other foot, with Axelrod attacking Halvorson and Bloomberg footing the bill.”