With Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) reportedly having enough votes to defeat a Republican-led filibuster, the battle over gun control begins in earnest once the legislative package clears its first procedural hurdle Thursday.
Reid has two Republicans who have already indicated they will support the gun control package all the way through: Sens. Mark Kirk (R-IL) and Pat Toomey (R-PA). However, the positions of many other Republican Senators are up in the air.
For instance, although Sens. Susan Collins (R-ME), Lindsey Graham (R-SC), Saxby Chambliss (R-GA), John Isackson (R-GA), and Kelly Ayotte (R-NH) appear ready to vote “yes” on the April 11 vote to move the legislation to the floor, no one knows what they will do on the final vote, which could be weeks away.
Toomey has reportedly told Reid that he will work “to sway six to eight of his Republican colleagues to support the final package.” However, no one knows if he can deliver when push comes to shove, and the votes of the six Democrats running for reelection in red states are still a huge factor as well.
How will Mark Pryor (D-AR), Joe Manchin (D-WV), Mary Landrieu (D-LA), Max Baucus (D-MT), Kay Hagan (D-NC) and Mark Begich (D-AK) fare politically in November 2014 if they vote for the Manchin/Toomey war on guns shows now?
There are far too many variables in the gun control push, including the fact that no one is really sure what senators like Rand Paul (R-KY), Ted Cruz (R-TX), and Mike Lee (R-UT) might be planning to do to derail gun control altogether.