Bloomberg group spends big against Democratic House candidate
February 11th, 2013
10:05 AM ET
5 years ago

Bloomberg group spends big against Democratic House candidate

(CNN) - New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg is putting his money where his mouth is when it comes to politics and gun legislation.

His super PAC, Independence USA, is dropping more than $1 million in advertisement money against a Democratic candidate running in a special election to replace former Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr. of Chicago.

The candidate, former U.S. Rep. Debbie Halvorson, has an "A" rating from the National Rifle Association and opposes proposals that call for a renewed ban on assault weapons similar to the one that expired in 2004.

Halvorson, who says she doesn't own a gun, points to the assault weapons ban that's been in place for two decades in Cook County. But, she adds, the city of Chicago still "has the highest murder rate in the country."

"For whatever reason, I'm the only candidate who's willing to be honest and just not cave on the issue," she said.

Asked if she's worried about the amount of money spent in attack ads against her, she said, "How could you not be concerned about more than a million coming from one billionaire in New York?"

"If he thinks he can buy a congressional race in Illinois, he's never going to stop," she continued.

A leading contender in the race to represent Illinois’ 2nd Congressional District, Halvorson stresses a stronger focus on revitalizing mental health services, enforcing current gun laws and implementing universal background checks.

"If we continue the cycle of passing one ban after another and yet ignore the real issues that impact crime, it would not be the most effective use of our resources," she says.

The new television ad targeting the former congresswoman says that gun violence is "out of control" and "Debbie Halvorson will make it worse."

"Debbie Halvorson's record: more guns in the hands of criminals," the narrator states. The commercial hits airwaves a little more than two weeks before the Democratic primary.

The former congresswoman, however, argued the ad was "shameful" and a "complete lie."

Stefan Friedman, spokesman for Independence USA PAC, said that "as Congress considers President Obama's package of gun safety measures, it is clear that NRA support and opposition to these reasonable reforms is an electoral liability."

Officials with the group say it has reported $400,000 in spending in each of the last two weeks on the race. With another weeklong buy for the new spot, that should put the total amount spent on $1 million against Halvorson.

Bloomberg, a leading voice in the gun control debate, started his super PAC last year with an agenda to support candidates that agree with him on major issues, including gun laws. By the end of 2012, the group spent nearly $10 million.

The mayor co-chairs "Mayors Against Illegal Guns," a group with a big presence in the recent back-and-forth over tougher gun laws. The organization has also taken out television ads, though on a more national scale.

The ad against Halvorson comes just days before the president is scheduled to travel to his adopted home town Chicago on Friday, where he's expected to address the city's gun violence. More than 500 people were killed in gun-related deaths last year, according to authorities. The first lady attended a Chicago funeral Saturday for a teenager killed by gunfire last month.

Filed under: Ads • Illinois • Michael Bloomberg
soundoff (15 Responses)
  1. Rudy NYC

    People who fear the black helicopters swooping down on their houses need not worry. They ain't bringing helicopters full of shock troops to raid your bunkers. They're bringing in the UFOs aremed with turbolasers from Area 51. They're gonna take you out from 5 miles up, 10 miles down range, which far in excess of the range of your little pop guns.

    February 11, 2013 10:16 am at 10:16 am |
  2. Kevin

    A democrat actually getting up and admitting that blanket, ineffective bans are a bad idea?

    She should be applauded for actually looking at the data instead of toeing the party line.

    February 11, 2013 10:24 am at 10:24 am |
  3. v_mag

    Well, hooray for Mayor. Bloomberg. An A+ from the NRA should be the kiss 'o death for any politician.

    February 11, 2013 10:44 am at 10:44 am |
  4. Larry L

    The 300 million guns in the US will be around forever. Proposals to limit the production and import of any type weapon will eventually reduce the number of those distributed throughout the population – that's just math. Will it eliminate criminal behavior with guns – certainly not. In the long-run will it help? Of course. I understand how the "Soldier wannabees" love their ARs, AKs, and high-capacity magazines, drums, ratcheted triggers, and other cool toys of the gun fantasy world. Put the word "tactical" in front of a cow pie and they'd buy it! But they already have those things and can fondle them to their heart's desire. We really don't need weapons high capacity, fast loading, and enhanced capability weapons. We really don't and fighting over semantics is just a distraction.

    February 11, 2013 10:46 am at 10:46 am |
  5. Lynda/Minnesota

    "We really don't need weapons high capacity, fast loading, and enhanced capability weapons."

    I agree. My only other comment is that if my neighbors on either side of me decide to declare Armageddon on each other, I'm (hopefully) not caught in their crossfire. I'm not counting on it, though.

    February 11, 2013 11:02 am at 11:02 am |
  6. A Kickin` Donkey

    Nothing is "FOREVER", not 300 million guns nor the NRA. Leadership is the key and Bloomberg is bringing an accountability to this woman for her past PANDERING to the NRA and those inclined to back them.

    If Jacksons disctrict is in Cook country then it is URBAN / SUBURBAN not rural and it`s Congress person MUST reflect the policies that keep those constiuents SAFE; policies which serve THEM. She chose to take her prior positions becaused they served HER INTERESTS well. It`s not about her any more!

    February 11, 2013 11:02 am at 11:02 am |
  7. Rick

    The NRA is out of sync no only with the general population but even within it own ranks. To be categorized as A+ by the NRA denotes lack of original thought and categorizes the recipient as a likely 'sold out' to special interests.

    February 11, 2013 11:03 am at 11:03 am |
  8. Mike A

    I'll listen to gun control suggestions from anyone but an admitted felon like Bloomberg. He and his group went to a gun show in Arizona for the specific purpose of performing straw purchases. Granted, it was a stunt. But if any private citizen had pulled that crap, the ATF would have charged them in a nano-second. He got off without as much as a "don't do that again warning". Don't break the law, then tell me we need more laws. Bloomberg is a clown, just like LaPierre from the NRA. Both of them need to shut up and go away.

    February 11, 2013 11:12 am at 11:12 am |
  9. Ray E. (Georgia)

    I think we have had nurumo Social Programs put in place to help prevent these gun problems. If you try to have the police try to prevent thes problems in some of these neighborhoods you get them screaming police violence. But then when something happens they scream, why don't you do something! It is a self defeating phrophicy. Dammed if you do and dammed if you don't. So the only solutition is to keep trying. Social problems exist, and repairing the problem is moot at best.

    February 11, 2013 11:19 am at 11:19 am |
  10. Ellen

    So glad I joined the NRA last week. Never been a member in the past, but will make it a point to be a member from now on.

    February 11, 2013 11:22 am at 11:22 am |
  11. JIM M

    Mike A

    I'll listen to gun control suggestions from anyone but an admitted felon like Bloomberg. He and his group went to a gun show in Arizona for the specific purpose of performing straw purchases

    Huh??? They have been clamoring for years about this and no one listened. So they had to prove that the problem exists.

    February 11, 2013 11:26 am at 11:26 am |
  12. CB FL

    If you are running for re-election in 2014 you would be wise to take notice. The NRA cannot protect all of you. Alot of you will be on your own. There will be a lot of money coming against you for supporting the NRA. This ad that the PAC is running is just the start of things to come.

    February 11, 2013 11:33 am at 11:33 am |
  13. Gurgyl

    Pass gun-control now.

    February 11, 2013 11:37 am at 11:37 am |
  14. Steve K.

    Th ereason I own guns is because of politicians like Michael Bloomberg.

    February 11, 2013 11:43 am at 11:43 am |
  15. Carolyn

    Nobody wants to talk about the real problem, it is the criminal who is pulling the trigger. I completely support background checks and aggressive, relentless prosecution of firearm law offenders. Additional laws will make no difference to criminals.

    February 11, 2013 11:51 am at 11:51 am |