Michael Bloomberg’s attempts to back gun control candidates in recent elections have not gone well.
After humiliating defeats in both Colorado Senate recall elections and the recent defeat of a Bloomberg-backed Sheriff’s candidate in Milwaukee County, Wisconsin, perhaps it isn’t surprising that the liberty-phobic billionaire has decided to play it very safe with the 2014 candidate endorsements handed out through his front group, Everytown for Gun Prohibition Safety:
When last year’s push for expanded background checks failed, Michael Bloomberg’s gun control organization said it would have to change Congress to get different results.
But when the former New York City mayor’s Everytown for Gun Safety endorsed 78 candidates running for federal office this year, the list was heavy on incumbents. It passed on a series of tough races in which gun control advocates are challenging sitting congressmen.
It is staying out of Colorado Democrat Andrew Romanoff’s bid to oust GOP Rep. Mike Coffman. It’s not supporting Brad Ashford, a Nebraska state senator who supports universal background checks, in his campaign against GOP Rep. Lee Terry. And it passed on trying to help Arkansas Democrat Pat Hays, who was a member of Mr. Bloomberg’s Mayors Against Illegal Guns when he was mayor of North Little Rock. Mr. Hays is an underdog against NRA A-rated Republican French Hill for the seat being vacated by GOP Rep. Tim Griffin.
Instead Mr. Bloomberg’s group endorsed 61 House members, 53 of whom are incumbents. Of the other eight, five are Democrats running for open seats being vacated by Democrats and two are Democrats running in open seats being vacated by Republicans. Only one, Democrat Bonnie Watson Coleman of New Jersey, is running against an incumbent, GOP Rep. Rodney Frelinghuysen.
In the Senate, Everytown endorsed 16 Democrats, all but two of whom are incumbents, and GOP Sen. Susan Collins (R., Maine). The group also backed Democratic Reps. Bruce Braley of Iowa and Gary Peters of Michigan, who are running to hold Democratic Senate seats in their states.
Some incumbents didn’t make the Everytown list. The group didn’t endorse Rep. Rick Nolan (D., Minn.), who co-sponsored the House bill to expand background checks. Mr. Nolan, who has an F score from the NRA, is trying to fend off a challenge from Republican Stewart Mills, whom the NRA gave an A rating. And it didn’t back NRA F-rated Rep. Joe Garcia (D., Fla.), who is being challenged by Republican Carlos Curbelo, who has an A grade from the gun rights group. Mr. Garcia isn’t a co-sponsor of the House background checks bill.
Staying out of races where candidates face an uphill climb lets Everytown, and other interest groups, juice their electoral records. The more winning candidates they endorse, the more they can say their seal of approval is worth.
It’s stunning to see the mercenary Bloomberg so overtly—and badly—playing such a cynical, transparent, and principle-free game with his endorsements. Jumping into a race late to back the strong horse takes no ideological courage, and doesn’t affect races.
It appears that Bloomberg’s promise to “change Congress” is just the latest bit of lip service from the New York hypocrite who hides behind a phalanx of heavily-armed private security 24 hours a day, seven days a week.