06/21/2013 07:56 pm ET

Mark Begich: New York Fundraiser Cancellation Had Nothing To Do With Bloomberg


SAN JOSE, Calif. -- Sen. Mark Begich (D-Alaska) shrugged off the influence of New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg (I) and his gun control group on Friday, saying Bloomberg had nothing to do with the cancellation of a fundraiser for the senator earlier this week.

Begich was set to hold a fundraiser in New York on Monday, hosted by financial industry titans Peter Solomon and Robert Rubin. But this week, Politico reported that the event had been canceled, just a few days after Bloomberg sent a letter to New York donors asking them to withhold contributions to senators who voted against bipartisan gun background check legislation.

Begich and three other Democratic senators joined with the majority of Republicans and opposed the bill in April, dooming it to failure.

"That event got canceled before Bloomberg even made his statement and the letter went out," said Begich in an interview with The Huffington Post on Friday at the annual Netroots Nation conference for progressive activists.

Begich said many donors who had planned to attend the fundraiser have still made contributions to his campaign, which he said would be reflected in the July fundraising report.

Solomon told Politico there was "no connection" between the fundraiser cancellation and the Bloomberg letter.

Bloomberg's group, Mayors Against Illegal Guns, has been running ads and spending money against some senators who voted against the background checks legislation. But Begich said he believes such attacks may backfire in Alaska. So far, he said, the Bloomberg criticism has not affected his fundraising.

"A New York mayor telling an Alaska senator what to do? Alaskans will reject that big time," Begich said. "Our view on outsiders -- it's like capital O. They don't like outsiders. Especially a New York mayor, telling Alaskans what to do with their personal lives and what to do with their own life -- not working."

Nick Wing contributed reporting.



News Editorials React To Gun Bill Defeat