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Senator Susan Collins (R. ME) better look out because Mayor Mike Bloomberg (I. NY) is putting the squeeze on her:

Gun-control advocates will press for expanded federal background checks for gun buyers with an ad campaign aimed at Maine Sen. Susan Collins that may air as soon as Thursday.

Mayors Against Illegal Guns, a group funded by New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg, also plans news conferences in about 100 cities Thursday as part of a "National Day to Demand Action."

Portland Mayor Michael Brennan will appear at 10 a.m. at City Hall with former Lewiston Mayor Larry Gilbert. Augusta Mayor William Stokes and Hallowell Mayor Charlotte Warren will appear at 11:30 a.m. at the University of Maine at Augusta.

The Bloomberg group's ad buy, valued at $12 million nationwide, is designed to pressure Collins to support tighter background checks for gun purchases, including private sales and at gun shows. - Portland Press Herald, 3/27/13

Here's the ad that's going be airing in Maine:

Collins voted in favor of instant background checks in 2007.  Prior to that, Collins received nearly $20,000 from 1996 to 2002.  She hasn't received any more contributions from the NRA and her current rating is a C+.  Now to be fair, Collins did support a bipartisan effort to stop illegal gun trafficking:

Sen. Susan Collins, a Republican from Maine, is one of five senators — three Democrats and two Republicans — who introduced legislation Monday designed to control illegal trafficking in firearms.

Collins joins Democrats Patrick Leahy of Vermont, Dick Durbin of Illinois and Kirsten Gillibrand of New York, as well as Republican Mark Kirk of Illinois, in unveiling the “Stop Illegal Trafficking of Firearms Act of 2013.” The new legislation will be considered Thursday by the Senate Judiciary Committee, of which Leahy is chairman, according to a joint statement from the senators.

The bill is designed to help law enforcement crack down on “straw purchasers,” people who buy guns for others who are legally prohibited from doing so, according to the senators’ statement. The revised legislation combines components from a bill Leahy and Durbin introduced in the previous Congress with a separate anti-trafficking bill Gillibrand and Kirk submitted earlier this year.

The bill would, for the first time, define gun trafficking and straw purchasing as crimes under federal law. It proposes harsh penalties for anyone who purchases a firearm or ammunition with the intent to transfer it to someone else, particularly in cases involving violent crimes or drug trafficking. The bill also would make it a crime to smuggle firearms out of the United States. - Bangor Daily News, 3/4/13

Collins is one of a few Republicans Bloomberg is targeting in his ad campaign.  He's also targeting Senators Pat Toomey (R. PA), Rob Portman (R. OH), Jeff Flake (R. AZ), Dan Coats (R. IN), Saxby Chambliss (R. GA), Johnny Isakson (R. GA), Dean Heller (R. NV), Chuck Grassley (R. IA) and Kelly Ayotte (R. NH).  Now Coats has had a history of supporting gun control measures when he was a Senator in the late 80s and in the 90s but his comeback was possible due to the Tea Party wave in 2010 so who knows how he'll vote.  My bet is Grassley will retire in 2016 but who knows which way he'll go.  Chambliss is out the door in 2014 and Isakson will be up for re-election in 2016.  Who knows how relevant the Tea Party movement will be by then but I don't doubt that Isakson is scared of the teabaggers as Chambliss is.  Toomey and Flake are true blue Tea Party nut jobs and Ayotte is a Momma Grizzly backed by Sarah Palin and lets not forget that she very narrowly won her primary in 2010.  Heller hails from Nevada where one of the big tourist attractions in Las Vegas is to fire assault rifles so I doubt he'll cave under Bloomberg's pressure.  Portman already came out for gay marriage because of his son so he can't go to the left on this issue.  Collins is the only Republican who's in a real dilemma.  If she votes against background checks, it could hurt her image as a moderate in a blue state that went heavily to Obama.  But if she votes for it, it could make her more vulnerable towards a Tea Party challenger.

Now I've heard about how disorganized the Tea Party movement is in Maine but I still think Collins can either be beaten by a crazy teabagger or hurt her image so badly in the primary that she can't shift back to the middle.  So Collins will need to make a decision on background checks and roll the dice on this.  I can't say how Collins will vote but one thing's for sure, the NRA can't keep up with Bloomberg's PAC:

Andrew Arulanandam, an NRA spokesman, said the association won't match Bloomberg on TV or radio, but will include Maine in a special round of mailers and phone calls denouncing certain gun-control "schemes" that are being floated nationally.

"We cannot match Bloomberg dollar for dollar, but we don't have to," Arulanandam said. "Our strongest asset is our membership." - Portland Press Herald, 3/27/13

Originally posted to pdc on Wed Mar 27, 2013 at 08:54 PM PDT.

Also republished by Repeal or Amend the Second Amendment (RASA) and Shut Down the NRA.


Do you think Senator Susan Collins (R) will vote for universal background checks?

40%12 votes
46%14 votes
13%4 votes

| 30 votes | Vote | Results

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Comment Preferences

  •  Tip Jar (8+ / 0-)

    Funny Stuff at

    by poopdogcomedy on Wed Mar 27, 2013 at 08:54:30 PM PDT

  •  She's in a bind here (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    poopdogcomedy, LilithGardener

    You're right, she is kind of trapped between what will help her in a primary and what will help in the general election.
    I'm guessing she does not support background checks, in an effort to stave off a primary challenge.  (I suspect she'll probably win a primary easily, but she can't be certain of it).
    She's got the trafficking bill to wave about, and she's always sooooooooo very careful to try to cut it right down the middle, giving one to one side and balancing that with another over there.
    Of course, she's almost always with the party on filibuster votes.

  •  Here's a prime example of why a background (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    LilithGardener, Lujane

    check is needed on ALL gun sales. This sale that went through an FFL allowed law enforcement to track down the straw purchaser in a very high profile gun death:

    Stevie Marie Vigil was arrested Wednesday night on charges she bought the gun from a licensed firearms dealer in Englewood in early March and gave it to Ebel, whose status as a convicted felon would have blocked him from buying it legally.

    There is no reason 100% of gun sales should not require a background check that would provide law enforcement the information they need to find and prosecute a criminal.

    And if the congress had already passed its more tough gun trafficking bill, this criminal would be facing a much tougher sentence. But thanks to the NRA, she's may get off with a lighter sentence.

  •  Should Pressure Her on Marriage Equality Too (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    LilithGardener, jplanner

    She has been pretty good on LGBT rights.

  •  she'll vote for universal background checks (0+ / 0-)

    My hunch is that Sen Susan Collins is really a decent person who wants to do the right thing, but she fails to do that many times because of the political realities of being a Republican Senator, instead of a Democratic Senator.  She could avoid these periodic problems if she'd switch parties and become a Democrat - but she lacks the courage to do that.  

    At the end of the day, she will see the logic and policy benefit of universal background checks and vote for that.

    Without Mayor Bloomberg's organization's Maine TV ads, I doubt she would vote the right way.

    I also think she will eventually do the right thing on marriage equality.  Perhaps Edith "Edie" Windsor, plaintiff in the DOMA challenge, should visit her office and ask her to do that face to face.

    If Collins fails to vote "right" on these two issues, I hope the Dems will challenge her with a strong candidate and decent funding in her next reelection bid.  We cannot give a "pass" to a GOP Senator in such a blue state.  Make her pay or motivate her to retire end of her term.

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