Mark Pryor runs an anti-Bloomberg ad, distributed by the DSCC
Arkansas senator Mark Pryor's first television ad of the 2014 cycle tells his constituents that he won't be influenced by Michael Bloomberg.
"The mayor of New York City is running ads against me because I opposed President Obama's gun conrol legislation," he says in the new 30-second spot.
Pryor's defensive effort comes in response to a barrage of local advertising from Bloomberg's gun control group Mayors Against Illegal Guns, which targets his no vote on a compromise amendment to expand background checks. Pryor was one of a handful of Democrats who voted against the Manchin-Toomey amendment.
In the ad, Pryor says the law wouldn't have prevented shootings like the ones that took place in Newtown, Columbine, "or even Jonesboro," a reference to the Arkansas town where four students and a teacher were killed in 1998.
Pryor is one of several Democrats up for re-election in red states in 2014, and Bloomberg is hoping to make him an example of the consequences of voting against new gun laws.
That effort pits Bloomberg, by proxy at least, against Sen. Chuck Schumer and the rest of the Democrats in the Senate, who overwhelmingly supported Manchin-Toomey but are also trying to desperately to protect their majority in a difficult election year.
Schumer has long been one of the most prominent advocates of gun control in American politics.
I received the new Pryor ad this morning in an email from the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, which Schumer helmed in 2006 and 2008, when the party re-captured the majority in red states that it now has to defend.
Bloomberg is a polarizing force in many of those states. Earlier this week he received a letter containing ricin that was tied to his gun control advocacy. (Police have reportedly questioned a possible suspect in Texarkana, which straddles the border of Texas and Arkansas.)
Last week, Pryor responded to a Bloomberg ad that focused on the killing of his late friend by saying it was "disgusting."
An Arkansas pollster and political science professor told me the opportunity to that push back against Bloomberg "could be the best thing that's happened to Mark Pryor in a while."
Pryor ends his ad, by saying, "I'm Mark Pryor and I approve this message because no one from New York or Washington tells me what to do. I listen to Arkansas."
A poll released by two conservative groups shows Pryor to be vulnerable.