New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg is taking his fight to pass background check legislation to Democratic donors, urging them not to donate to Democratic senators who voted against a measure to expand background checks for gun purchases.
The New York Times reported that a letter is going out to "hundreds" of top donors in New York, asking them to cut off contributions to the four Democrats who voted against the bill, which failed in the Senate earlier this year. The letters target Sens. Heidi Heitkamp (N.D.), Mark Pryor (Ark.), Mark Begich (Alaska) and Max Baucus (Mont.). Pryor and Begich are up for reelection in 2014.
What effect the letter by the Republican-turned-independent mayor may have on Democratic donors is not yet clear. But it is another effort by Bloomberg to attach a political cost to voting against gun legislation -- something that the National Rifle Association has long done on the opposite side of the issue. It also marks an escalation between Bloomberg and national Democrats, who have worried that targeting vulnerable members of the party could backfire and lead to Republicans winning.
That worry has not deterred Bloomberg, whose group, Mayors Against Illegal Guns, spent $350,000 on an ad asking Pryor to reconsider his "no" vote on background checks. The Arkansas senator called the spot "disgusting."
The mayor brushed off the notion that his attack would lead to electing Republicans less in favor of his plan. "The NRA has defined how you go about getting something done," he said on MSNBC's "Morning Joe." Wednesday. "You say ... I know your opponent may be worse. This is the issue. We're judging you, not judging your opponent. We'll deal with your opponent at a different time. We want you to vote this way. This is what's right for the country."