Brigid Bergin is the City Hall reporter for WNYC. She covers city politics including the 2013 mayoral race and transition.
While Mayor Bloomberg's days at City Hall may dwindling, it will be a long time before his deep pockets run dry. That means he has billions to support causes - and candidates that share his positions.
In the latest example, the mayor’s Independence USA PAC spent more than $2.2 million in the Democratic primary for Illinois’ second congressional seat, located on Chicago's south side and formerly held by disgraced Rep. Jesse Jackson, Jr.. The winner, former state legislator Robin Kelly, is all but assured the seat after the special election in April.
Tapping into Chicago’s well-documented history gun violence, the bulk of the money was spent on attack ads and direct mail targeting former Representative Debbie Halvorson, a candidate who's had an A-rating from the National Rifle Association.
"This is an important victory for common sense leadership on gun violence, a problem that plagues the whole nation," Mayor Bloomberg said in a statement . "And it's the latest sign that voters across the country are demanding change from their representatives in Washington -- not business as usual. As Congress considers the President's gun package, voters in Illinois have sent a clear message: we need common sense gun legislation now. Now it's up to Washington to act."
It’s not the first time the mayor’s PAC has weighed in on national races. Independence USA put money towards five races in November. But the mayor has vowed to step up his efforts in the aftermath of the Newtown massacre.
Independence spokesman Stefan Friedman said the race should be as a sign Mayor Bloomberg will continue undaunted in his quest to bring money to "the other side of the ledger" from the NRA.
Mayor Bloomberg will also meet with senate leaders and Vice President Joseph Biden at the White House Thursday, continuing his push for stronger gun control legislation.