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