On November 4 Washington Post contributor Peter Galuszka reflected on key losses for Democrats in the Tuesday elections and concluded that Michael Bloomberg’s involvement and gun control agenda were a kiss of death for Democrats seeking office.
Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper (D) offered the same kind of assessment following the September 2013 recalls that resulted in two gun control Democrats being defeated by challengers who were pro-Second Amendment. Bloomberg had poured $350,000 into an effort to help the gun control Democrats win, but the effort failed. So when a recall effort aimed at a third gun control Democrat began in October, Hickenlooper spoke to USA Today and in the kindest words he could use, said, “Colorado is a state that people like to be themselves and solve their own problems. They don’t really like outside organizations meddling in their affairs.”
But Galuszka was not so kind the morning after Democrats failed to wrest control of the Virginia Senate from pro-Second Amendment Republicans. Writing in the WAPO, Galuszka said, “Memo to Michael Bloomberg: If you want to help Virginia Democrats, stay home.”
Galuszka pointed to the 10th District Senate race in which Republican Glen H. Sturtevant defeated Democrat Dan Gecker. He observed, “The race appears to have come down to 5,000 votes in mostly rural Powhatan County, a sprawling spot with about 28,000 people, a quaint town center and a Wal-Mart creeping in from western Richmond’s exurban sprawl zone.” Although this was a rural area, Governor Terry McAuliffe (D) “tapped his wealthy pals” for funding. And “before you could say ‘lock and load,’ an advocacy group affiliated with former New York mayor Michael Bloomberg decided to put $700,000 in gun control money into ads supporting Gecker.”
Bloomberg did not understand that “Powhatan is heavily Republican in the mashup of the 10th District.” It is an area where onlookers see “a fair number of pickups with oversize tires, ‘Don’t tread on me’ license plates and radios that track [hunting] dogs.”
In other words, it’s not the kind of place where Bloomberg’s message on gun control and expansive government is welcome.
Galuszka put it his way:
Powhatans would not take kindly to a New York boo-bah telling them what they should do with their guns. They don’t want anyone deciding whether they can buy a giant Dr. Pepper from Hardee’s. Damn the cholesterol, they want their soupy gravy on their sausage biscuits. They do not want the nanny state.
So Bloomberg blew that one, just as–in hindsight–Governor Hicklooper fears Bloomberg’s involvement blew it for gun control Democrats in the Colorado recalls.
In the lead-up to the 2014 midterm elections, Democrats in the U.S. Senate feared Bloomberg’s kiss of death would sink the political careers of red state Democrats running for re-election as well. Breitbart News reported that Senators Harry Reid (D-NV) and Chuck Schumer (D-NY) asked Bloomberg to “temper” his gun control rhetoric to spare red state Democrats like Senator Mark Pryor (D-Ark) from defeat.
Bloomberg rejected their requests, and similar requests made by Bill Clinton as well.
Pryor was handily defeated by Senator Tom Cotton (R-Ark) during the midterm elections.
Follow AWR Hawkins on Twitter: @AWRHawkins. Reach him directly at firstname.lastname@example.org.