Bloomberg spends to attack a pro-gun Illinois Democrat

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Mayor Michael Bloomberg's Independence USA PAC is running a television ad opposing a pro-gun candidate in the Illinois race to replace retiring congressman Jesse Jackson, Jr.

Debbie Halvorson, a Democrat who previously served one term in Congress, is currently seen as the front-runner among the 17 Democrats who have officially registered to run in the special election. Halvorson opposes a ban on assault weapons and on high-capacity magazine clips, positions at odds with Bloomberg, and with President Obama, who has proposed bans on both as part of his recent push to enact new gun control measures.

“In the race to replace Jesse Jackson, watch out for Debbie Halvorson," the ad warns. "When she was in Congress before, Halvorson got an A from the NRA. The NRA: against comprehensive background checks, against banning deadly assault weapons, against banning high capacity ammunition clips.

"Halvorson even co-sponsored a bill that would allow some criminals to carry loaded, hidden guns into Chicago. Debbie Halvorson: when it comes to preventing gun violence, she gets an F."

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Bloomberg founded the PAC, Independence USA, late in the fall campaign cycle and won four of the seven races in which he invested heavily.

The race bears some similarities to Bloomberg's biggest victory during the fall elections, when he helped defeat California Rep. Joe Baca, a Democratic incumbent with a pro-gun record. Bloomberg backed another Democrat, State Senator Gloria Negrete McLeod, who had a more progressive record on gun control, in what was widely considered a surprising upset. (That Democrat-versus-Democrat scenario was made possible by California's new nonpartisan election law, which advances the two top vote-getters in an open primary.) 

Bloomberg has not yet backed a candidate in the Illinois race.