A Chicagoland special House election to replace disgraced former Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr. has suddenly become Ground Zero of the national gun control debate, courtesy of anti-gun crusader Mike Bloomberg.
The billionaire New York City mayor’s super PAC is poised to dump at least $2 million into the race, sources told POLITICO — a staggering sum for a single House race that’s meant to thwart a National Rifle Association-aligned Democrat who was cruising along as the frontrunner until a barrage of Bloomberg-financed attack ads hit the airwaves.
The massive independent expenditure by Independence USA PAC dwarfs what any of the 17 Democratic candidates have raised themselves. It’s a none-too-subtle statement of Bloomberg’s intention to take on the NRA after the Newtown, Conn. school shooting — though it’s debatable how much of a test case it is since the NRA is staying out of the race.
The bulk of Bloomberg’s cash has financed an air war against Debbie Halvorson, a former one-term congresswoman and longtime ex-state legislator with an “A” rating from the NRA. The lone white candidate in the Democratic field, she’s hoping that her base of suburban and rural voters in the southern outskirts of the district — who by and large favor gun rights — will be enough to give her the small plurality it will take to win.