Two of New York State’s most powerful politicians are battling it out on issues important to them through the Senate re-election campaign of an Arkansas Democrat.
Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.) sent out a fundraising email Wednesday for Sen. Mark Pryor of Arkansas, a Democrat who she says was the first to support her in her Violence Against Women Act. Pryor is facing a tough re-election fight next year against Rep. Tom Cotton, a Republican.
“He’s already faced more than $1 million in attacks,” wrote Gillibrand, who is leading the effort on Capitol Hill to make the military more accountable for attacks on women.
She does not mention that the majority of that “more than $1 million in attacks” is funded by New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, who is personally financing attack ads against lawmakers who voted against the gun-control bill that failed earlier this year.
It is the ultimate fight to the finish among the New York politicians, Capitol New York notes — Bloomberg, with his fixation on combating guns, and Gillibrand, a rising Democratic star seen as a possible presidential candidate, who has taken a lead on women’s issues.
Bloomberg, the co-founder of Mayors Against Illegal Guns, established a private $10-million super-PAC focusing specifically on this issue and has targeted both Democratic and Republican senators who voted down a bill that would have set up background checks on all gun buyers.
Asked if he was concerned that Cotton, whom Gillibrand termed “recklessly anti-woman,” would win, potentially throwing the narrowly divided Senate into GOP hands, Bloomberg, an independent, said that saving lives was more important.
“We will support candidates, particularly Democrats, because that’s what matters in the Senate, who will stop the carnage,” Bloomberg said. “Twelve thousand Americans are going to get killed with illegal guns this year; 19,000 will commit suicide. I care about those people.”
Surveys show Cotton neck and neck with Pryor, leading the incumbent by a tiny 43 to 41 percent. Without mentioning names, Gillibrand said that if Bloomberg has his way, the country as a whole loses.
“If Cotton and the outside groups have the airwaves to themselves, Mark could lose,” she wrote in her fundraiser email. “If Mark loses, we all lose.”