Bloomberg to donors: Stop supporting Democrats against background checks
June 12th, 2013
11:40 AM ET
1 year ago

Bloomberg to donors: Stop supporting Democrats against background checks

(CNN) – Michael Bloomberg's quest to enact stricter gun control measures continued Wednesday with a request from the billionaire New York City mayor to top Democratic donors: Stop supporting Senate incumbents who voted against a measure in April that would have bolstered background check requirements on gun sales.

Those Democratic senators – Mark Begich of Alaska, Heidi Heitkamp of North Dakota, Mark Pryor of Arkansas and Max Baucus of Montana (who's not running for re-election) – "sided with a gun lobby increasingly out of touch with Americans' priorities," Bloomberg wrote in his letter.

"I am writing to ask you: the next time these four Senators want you to support them with donations to their campaigns, tell them you cannot," Bloomberg continued. "Until they show that they will stand up for the American people and not the gun lobby, tell them you cannot support their candidacy."

READ THE FULL LETTER HERE.

The bipartisan measure that would have extended background checks to internet sales and gun shows failed to gain Senate approval in April. Its failure to pass was considered a major blow to gun control legislation that was pushed in the aftermath of the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting in December.

Bloomberg's group Mayors Against Illegal Guns, along with other organizations pushing for tighter restrictions on firearms, pushed back against senators who voted "no" on the measure, including spending millions airing ads against both Democrats and Republicans.

Pryor, who's considered one of the most vulnerable incumbents up for re-election in 2014, defended himself in his own television spot, saying "No one in Washington tells me what to do. I listen to Arkansas."

The effect of Bloomberg's assault on pro-gun Democrats is not yet completely clear - some wonder whether the socially liberal mayor will actually help Democrats running for re-election in red states by attacking their positions on guns.

One statewide columnist in Arkansas, Steve Barnes, pointed to Bloomberg's support of abortion rights, gay marriage and stem cell research as potentially turning off voters in the state, though he submitted that Bloomberg also helped erase New York's $6 billion deficit. Bloomberg’s efforts to raise the cigarette tax and ban large soda drinks may also play against him in Arkansas, Barnes wrote.

“I still submit the Bloomberg ads may help Pryor more than hurt him,” he wrote.

Reached Wednesday, spokesmen for Heitkamp – who was elected to the Senate in November - and Pryor declined to comment on Bloomberg's attempt to shut off fundraising. A Begich spokesman didn't return calls requesting a response.

A Baucus spokesman told CNN that campaign contributions wouldn't influence the Montana senator's future votes.

Bloomberg's letter to donors was first reported by the New York Times.

Asked why Bloomberg was going after only Democrats, John Fleinblatt, a chief policy adviser to the mayor, said on a conference call Wednesday, "These aren't either or choices."

He said Mayors Against Illegal Guns will continue its advertising blitz, and is launching a national bus tour beginning Friday in Newtown, Connecticut, called "No More Names: The National Drive to Reduce Gun Violence" marking the 6 month anniversary of the school shooting there.

"All of these are part of the process to urge Congress to take a second look at this matter," Fleinblatt said on the call.

When asked if the group would do more ads targeting Democrats who voted against the background checks measure, one official with the group said "stay tuned."

CNN's Kevin Bohn and Todd Sperry contributed to this report.


Filed under: Gun control • Michael Bloomberg
soundoff (23 Responses)
  1. Gurgyl

    This nation needs Gun-Ban Laws. Period.

    June 12, 2013 11:43 am at 11:43 am |
  2. Dutch/Bad Newz, VA -aka- Take Back The House -aka- No Redemption Votes

    We just seen yet again another mass shooting last week in California. Shooter had more than 1,000 of ammo. ANY politician against tougher gun measures should have their head examined then be primaried.

    June 12, 2013 11:55 am at 11:55 am |
  3. Dixie

    Gee more government control - if they don't like your beliefs they will let you know what you will believe!

    June 12, 2013 12:05 pm at 12:05 pm |
  4. just sayin

    stop supporting democrats. i finally agree with bloomberg on something!

    June 12, 2013 12:09 pm at 12:09 pm |
  5. 82ndABNVET

    So, is everyone supposed to cower now whenever Bloomberg speaks?

    I am pretty sure you are free to support and donate to any candidate you may choose. Just saying.

    And, they voted how thier constituents expected them to vote. They were elected to said office to represent the electorate, not Bloomberg, not the President, not the NRA, not anyone else.

    Montana is not going to vote to increase gun control. Nor will Alaska, Arkansas and North Dakota. Those are not BLUE states.

    The King of NYC needs to realize that he only has purview of NYC. NYC should not be dictating what SC, FL, TX, VA, OR, or any other state does. What is "good" for NYC does not mean it is "good" for everyone else.

    I may just donate to those Senators just to spite him, and I dont even live in one of thier states.

    Gun control will not stop someone from killing another person. Bomb, Car, Bat, Chemical or any other means can kill just as easy. A gun is just a tool. More people die in car accidents. More people die in medical accidents. More people die from sharp objects. (Than "assualt rifles").

    June 12, 2013 12:10 pm at 12:10 pm |
  6. Republicans rule Obama

    Someone needs to tell Bloomberg to stay out of politics, the American citizen will never give up their guns. To suggest otherwise makes you against this country and you need to leave. We do not need people like Gurgyl in this country.

    June 12, 2013 12:13 pm at 12:13 pm |
  7. jinx9to88

    I agree with Bloomberg, let the NRA give money to these cowards, obviously the NRA voice is louder than 85% of american that want background checks.

    June 12, 2013 12:15 pm at 12:15 pm |
  8. Rudy NYC

    I wonder what Mikey Mike plans to do after he leaves the Mayor's office. It sounds like he's going to make good on the ridiculous sounding, right wing suggestion that private equity can do more than government.

    June 12, 2013 12:18 pm at 12:18 pm |
  9. SuperD

    Bloomberg is the epitome of a Liberal.

    He's smarter than you even though he's not.

    He wants to control you because he knows better than you when he doesn't.

    He thinks his gun grab is going to make you safe, when in fact the opposite is more likely to happen.

    If you support this guy in any way, you are the "low information" voter who is the base of the corrupt Democrat Party and a scourge on the rest of us descent people who just want to pull our own weight, without Bloomberg telling me I can't enjoy a Big Gulp.

    June 12, 2013 12:21 pm at 12:21 pm |
  10. Data Driven

    Agreed. Rigorous background checks should be part of the Democratic platform. Blue Dog Democrats are pretty useless when it comes to liberal priorities. Of course, I'm foolish enough to want the Democratic Party to be the liberal party in this country. (i know, I know.)

    June 12, 2013 12:42 pm at 12:42 pm |
  11. Thomas

    Go Bloomberg !

    June 12, 2013 12:57 pm at 12:57 pm |
  12. Snapshot

    We have to have more gun control. Period.

    I am all for govt control when it helps Americans.

    June 12, 2013 01:01 pm at 1:01 pm |
  13. Ron L

    America needs stronger background checks and needs to reduce the size of clips to a maximum of 10 rounds. Before you people who are opposed to the last item I have heard at least 6 interviews with young people who were able to get stolen guns and there preferred clip size of the 30 round magazine because THEY HAVE POOR AIM!! So, just logically if you reduce the number of bullets in a clip you increase the chance someone will come out of a confrontation alive. But I realize I am wasting my time writing this because America is a VERY FEARFUL VIOLENT society and even though we claim to be a Christian society...we aren't even close.

    June 12, 2013 01:01 pm at 1:01 pm |
  14. just askin

    i guess it's ok when a ultra rich billionaire wants to control our lives because he thinks he nows better. take your liberal ny beliefs and values and stick them where the sun don't shine richy richy know it all.

    June 12, 2013 01:05 pm at 1:05 pm |
  15. Rudy NYC

    82ndABNVET wrote:

    The King of NYC needs to realize that he only has purview of NYC. NYC should not be dictating what SC, FL, TX, VA, OR, or any other state does. What is "good" for NYC does not mean it is "good" for everyone else.
    ----------------------–
    Would this jurisdictional restraint apply to the Koch brothers? Or Crossroads GPS?

    June 12, 2013 01:12 pm at 1:12 pm |
  16. Sothern Pottie

    Rudy NYC
    Would this jurisdictional restraint apply to the Koch brothers? Or Crossroads GPS?
    -–

    Or George Soros? And MoveOn.org or CodePink or the hundreds of "progressive"/regressive groups?

    June 12, 2013 01:18 pm at 1:18 pm |
  17. Rudy NYC

    just askin

    i guess it's ok when a ultra rich billionaire wants to control our lives because he thinks he nows better. take your liberal ny beliefs and values and stick them where the sun don't shine richy richy know it all.
    --------------–
    so, i guess it's okay when ultra rich billionaires named Koch control your life because they think they know what is best for you and yours. right?

    June 12, 2013 01:19 pm at 1:19 pm |
  18. it must be said

    Let's see.... A full scale assault from the left on our 1st, 2nd, and 4th amendments rights. The very foundation of our rights and freedom. Wake up America.

    June 12, 2013 01:22 pm at 1:22 pm |
  19. Tony

    I am a Dem, and i believe in some form of gun laws but i dislike this Mayor so much that if he is against the NRA i am for them, to hell with bloomberg, and i will support those dems he is against.

    June 12, 2013 01:28 pm at 1:28 pm |
  20. Peoples State of Illinois

    @Gurgyl

    This nation needs Gun-Ban Laws. Period.
    ---
    Feel free to move to a country that has such laws....please!

    June 12, 2013 01:37 pm at 1:37 pm |
  21. it must be said

    I just LOVE IT when the leftists start eating their own!! Makes my day!! Go git 'em Bloomy!! Teach them a lesson!!

    June 12, 2013 01:39 pm at 1:39 pm |
  22. Rudy NYC

    Sothern Pottie

    Rudy NYC
    Would this jurisdictional restraint apply to the Koch brothers? Or Crossroads GPS?
    -–

    Or George Soros? And MoveOn.org or CodePink or the hundreds of "progressive"/regressive groups?
    -------------------------–
    You missed the point because of the right wing's blinding hypocrisy.

    Someone above said that Bloomberg should mind his business and stay in NYC, and not worry about elsewhere because it is none of his business. Yet, the right wing feels that it is okay for the NRA to come into big cities and tell them that they cannot have stricter gun laws.

    As to your point, it was the right wing that fought for the current status quo. It was the right wing that overturned McCain-Feingold in favor of decisions like Citizens United. So, what exactly is your point? You're blaming liberals for the effects of conservatives policies, which comes as no surprise.

    June 12, 2013 01:45 pm at 1:45 pm |
  23. Guy

    Let see now...

    Maintain surveillance of U. S. citizens electronic communications – CHECK

    Use government agencies to intimidate and coerce American citizens – CHECK

    Put in place the framework to track and confiscate legally owned firearms – NOT YET, BUT TRYING

    II would say that the United States is well on its way to becoming ruled by a totalitarian government.

    June 12, 2013 01:45 pm at 1:45 pm |