Bloomberg super PAC backs winner in Ill. primary

Vice President Joe Biden meets with New York

Vice President Joe Biden meets with New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg in his West Wing office. (Feb. 27, 2013) (Credit: David Lienemann)

Travel deals

WASHINGTON -- Mayor Michael Bloomberg said Wednesday that a primary election victory by an anti-gun House candidate that his super PAC spent $2.2 million to support was "a harbinger of things to come."

Robin Kelly, a former Illinois state representative, on Tuesday won the special Democratic primary to replace the disgraced Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr. after she campaigned directly against the National Rifle Association. She beat Debbie Halvorson, a former Illinois House member who had gotten a high NRA rating.

"Is it a harbinger of things to come? I think so," Bloomberg said outside the White House.

Bloomberg made his comments after he met on gun legislation with Vice President Joe Biden and his son, Delaware Attorney General Beau Biden. Earlier, he met on Capitol Hill with three Republican senators and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.).

Bloomberg said his self-funded super PAC, Independence USA, would not get involved in every race -- only those where "the public is somewhat evenly divided and you can make a difference."

"I think we showed in Illinois that by explaining to the public what's at stake here -- it's their lives, their kids' lives, their parents' lives, and that we need sensible gun laws," he said.

"We were on the right side of the issue, and our message resonated," Kelly said.

In her victory speech, Kelly promised to fight "until gun violence is no longer a nightly feature on the evening news" and said of the NRA that "their days of holding our country hostage are coming to an end."

The NRA's political action committee didn't spend money on the race, records show.

"This is an aberration," said Illinois State Rifle Association spokesman Richard Pearson. "This shows what you can do with $2 million in an off-season race. He bought the election."

Some Democrats accused Bloomberg of buying the race and interfering in a district that includes Chicago, suburbs and rural areas.

"It shows, unfortunately, you can't go up against that big money," Halvorson said.

With her primary win, Kelly is expected to easily win the April 9 general election in the mostly Democratic district.

In the Republican primary, Paul McKinley, a former felon who describes himself as a grassroots activist on behalf of ex-offenders, led Eric Wallace, a Christian book publisher, by 23 votes with a few precincts uncounted. With AP

advertisement | advertise on newsday

Newsday on social media

@Newsday

advertisement | advertise on newsday