Mayors Against Illegal Guns, a gun control advocacy group backed by New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, announced a new television ad Thursday thanking Sen. Pat Toomey (R-Pa.) for co-sponsoring an amendment to expand background checks.
"Washington likes to argue," a female narrator says. "Senator Pat Toomey wants to get things done. He worked across party lines, leading the fight to take guns out of the hands of criminals."
"Courage and common sense -- that's Pat Toomey. Tell him to keep fighting for background checks," she continues.
It's unusual for third-party groups to run positive political ads, especially in a non-election year. The spot could be a template for Toomey's 2016 reelection campaign -- in a state that hasn't voted for a Republican president since 1988.
Mayors Against Illegal Guns had run ads encouraging Toomey to support a background checks deal, but pulled them after he and Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) announced their compromise amendment to expand checks to Internet sales and gun shows. The measure has since failed in the Senate.
The group is running ads against Sen. Kelly Ayotte (R-N.H.), who voted no on the background checks amendment. The National Rifle Association, meanwhile, is running ads supporting her.
Toomey blamed the failure of the background check measure on some Republican senators who did not want to deliver a victory to President Barack Obama. "In the end, it didn't pass because we're so politicized. There were some on my side who did not want to be seen helping the president do something he wanted to get done, just because the president wanted to do it," Toomey said.