New York Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg, one of the nation’s most committed and deep-pocketed gun-control proponents, is ratcheting up pressure on lawmakers by launching a new system to grade them based on their votes and statements on gun issues.
Mayors Against Illegal Guns, the nonprofit group financed by Bloomberg (I), will unveil a scoring system Tuesday to award lawmakers grades of A through F, much like the National Rifle Association, which has derived much of its power by deploying letter rankings against politicians at election time. The group’s strategists briefed The Washington Post on the plans ahead of Tuesday’s announcement.
“For decades, the NRA has done an admirable job of tracking to minute detail how members of Congress stand on gun bills. We’ve simply decided to do the same,” said Mark Glaze, director of Mayors Against Illegal Guns, which is chaired by Bloomberg and is made up of more than 900 mayors from across the country.
This is Bloomberg’s latest move to establish his organization as a counterweight to the influential NRA and to create legislative momentum on Capitol Hill around President Obama’s proposals to toughen the nation’s gun laws.
Mayors Against Illegal Guns will start airing a 60-second ad on Tuesday featuring Neil Heslin, whose son, Jesse Lewis, was killed in December’s elementary school massacre in Newtown, Conn. The group is spending more than $1 million to air the ad on cable news in Washington and on television stations in 10 targeted states, officials said.
The group is targeting Sens. Saxby Chambliss (R-Ga.), Daniel Coats (R-Ind.), Joe Donnelly (D-Ind.), Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.), Kay Hagan (D-N.C.), Heidi Heitkamp (D-N.D.), Dean Heller (R-Nev.), Johnny Isakson (R-Ga.), Mary Landrieu (D-La.), Rob Portman (R-Ohio), Mark Pryor (D-Ark.) and Patrick J. Toomey (R-Pa.).
The group also this week will begin airing a new television ad statewide in Pennsylvania focused on …