A super PAC funded by New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg has weighed in on Illinois' Democratic primary to replace retired Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr. with an ad blasting candidate Deborah Halvorson for her support of the National Rifle Association.
Independence USA PAC, which spent more than $8 million in the 2012 elections, released the ad on Tuesday, telling voters in Illinois' 2nd District to "watch out for Debbie Halvorson" because of her "A" rating from the NRA. The ad offers a laundry list of gun control legislation the former U.S. House member has opposed: "against comprehensive background checks, against banning deadly assault weapons, against banning high capacity ammunition clips."
The ad, set to air on cable and broadcast television, is yet another indication of how the politics of guns has changed since 26 people were killed, including 20 young children, in the Dec. 14 massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School. Bloomberg's super PAC has emerged as a potentially potent tool in elections, where previously the dominant voice on guns was the NRA.
"Throughout her years in Washington and Springfield, Debbie Halvorson's record on gun safety has been entirely devoid of any semblance of the kind of common-sense reforms that will keep Americans safer from the scourge of gun violence," Stefan Friedman of Independence USA PAC said in a statement.
A spokesman for the group told the Chicago Tribune that the ad will be backed by a "significant" purchase of airtime.
There are currently 17 candidates running in the special election's Democratic primary, set for Feb. 26. Halvorson previously served in the House of Representatives from 2009 to 2011 and lost to then-Rep. Jackson in a 2012 Democratic primary for the newly drawn 2nd District.
Independence USA PAC is only running ads opposing Halvorson and is not endorsing any of the other candidates in the race.