Former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s gun control group is backing candidates in dozens of contests in the midterm elections – but very few of them are in close races, The Washington Times reports
The list of safe endorsements by Bloomberg’s group, Everytown for Gun Safety, has immediately come under fire from the National Rifle Association.
"It appears as though [Bloomberg] is trying to buy himself some headlines by investing in only safe races," said NRA spokesman Andrew Arulanandam.
Everytown, which plans to spend $50 million on gun control efforts, announced this week that it is endorsing candidates from 28 states, including 17 Senate candidates, 61 House candidates and 32 candidates for state offices.
The list includes several GOP candidates in comfortable House districts, as well as Sen. Susan Collins of Maine, who looks like a shoo-in.
The gun group also revealed that it planned to run TV ads backing Oregon Gov. John Kitzhaber and Rep. Robin Kelly of Illinois, both Democrats in safe races.
Although the group is supporting Democrats in close Senate races in Iowa, Louisiana, and North Carolina, certain Democrats in key "nationally watched races" are not on the list, according to the Times.
The newspaper also noted that more than half of the House candidates Bloomberg’s group endorsed are in districts where Democrats expect easy victories, suggesting that the group has had problems identifying candidates in tough contests who might reap the rewards of its financial endorsements.
But Everytown President John Feinblatt said, "These are candidates who have shown leadership in the fight to keep our communities safe from gun violence both on the state and federal level."
Bloomberg spokesman Stu Loeser pointed out that only a chunk of the $50 million in Everyday funds will go to campaigns, while the rest will launch the group’s national educational and advocacy programs, as well as in-state gun control programs.
Loeser said the former Republican mayor is planning to make more personal expenditures to candidateS as well as further contributions to campaigns, according to the Times.
The spokesman noted that Bloomberg has already given $2.5 million to the Senate Majority PAC and $2 million to a committee affiliated with the pro-choice abortion group Emily’s List.
The Senate Majority PAC is closely linked with Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, a Nevada Democrat, while Emily’s List usually supports Democratic candidates. The political action committee has also doled out millions opposing Rep. Tom Cotton in the close Senate race in Arkansas against Sen. Mark Pryor, the Times said.
Everytown, formerly known as Mayors Against Illegal Guns, is also supporting Democratic Sen. Mark Udall in Colorado, who is facing a stiff challenge from Republican Rep. Cory Gardner.
"Coloradans have repeatedly rejected Michael Bloomberg’s radical gun control agenda and they will reject Sen. Udall in November," Gardner spokesman Alex Siciliano told the Times.
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