9:58 pm Oct. 31, 20121
While Mayor Michael Bloomberg was tending to Hurricane Sandy in New York, his new super PAC was making its first big plays in Florida and California.
On Tuesday, Bloomberg's Independence USA committee spent $2,350,000 on a media buy to benefit Gloria Negrete McLeod, a Democratic State Senator in California who is trying to unseat the Democratic incumbent congressman, Joe Baca, whose positions on gun control the mayor has criticized. (California general elections now feature the top two vote-getters from the primary, regardless of party.)
Bloomberg also spent $1.7 million on a media buy for former Orlando police chief Val Demings, a Democrat running to unseat Republican congressman Daniel Webster, a Tea Party favorite.
The committee also spent $691,000 on a media buy to benefit moderate Republican incumbent Robert Dold in Illinois.
On Monday, Bloomberg added another Republican to his list of beneficiaries: Connecticut State Senator Andrew Roraback, who is running for the open House seat being vacated by U.S. Senate candidate Chris Murphy. The committee spent $15,000 on online ads for a Roraback, whose name hadn't previously been mentioned among the mayor's likely beneficiaries.
Roraback is a self-styled "New England Republican," who is pro-choice and voted in favor of a controversial gun control bill in the Connecticut legislature, and for extending legal protections to same-sex marriage couples. His Democratic opponent, Elizabeth Esty, voted for some of the same measures, but Bloomberg has previously stressed the importance of supporting Republican members who buck the party orthodoxy on guns and abortion.
The media buys mark the first big round of spending for Bloomberg, whose previous expenditures had consisted mostly of direct mail and online ads, with a lone media buy for upstate Democrat Dan Maffei.
Bloomberg has now spent more than $2.5 for Negrete McLeod, more than $2 million to help Demings, and nearly a million to back Dold.
Bloomberg had previously pledged to spend between $10 and $15 million in the race.