New York City Mayor Mike Bloomberg’s super PAC is launching a $1 million ad blitz in the final week of the Virginia Attorney General’s race, focusing on Republican nominee Mark Obenshain’s record on guns in a saturation-level television buy.
The spending comes on top of nearly $2 million that Bloomberg has laid down in the Washington television market in negative spots against Virginia AG Ken Cuccinelli, a Republican who’s running for governor against front-running Democratic nominee Terry McAuliffe.
And it creates a dynamic of Bloomberg directly going up against the National Rifle Association, which launched spots attacking the New York mayor shortly after his Independence USA PAC started reserving air time for the anti-Cuccinelli spots last week.
The race — Obershain is running again state senator Mark Herring — has become close. Democrats have not held the AG’s office in Virginia in decades but see the possibility of a major pickup.
The Bloomberg spot broadly paints Obenshain as a hard-right candidate, using his support six years ago as a state senator for a so-called “personhood” amendment and pivoting to a vote against background checks at gun shows.
“Here are few things Mark Obenshain tried to outlaw,” the narrator of the ad says. “Birth control pills. Women choosing to have an abortion, even in the case of rape or incest.”
The ad goes on: “But when it comes to actual criminals, Obenshain voted to let convicted felons avoid background checks at gun shows, and voted to repeal the one gun a month law, meaning criminals could buy guns in bulk. Instead of dictating to women, Virginia needs an Attorney General who cracks down on real criminals.”
“Virginia has now become a major battleground with the NRA in the fight over sensible gun safety legislation,” said Independence USA PAC spokesman Stu Loeser.
The NRA is reportedly spending about $500,000 to air an ad against Herring in Virginia..
NRA chief lobbyist Chris Cox slammed Bloomberg as “desperate” and looking for relevance with a late-game buy in a race that’s roughly a dead heat.
“It’s not a profile in courage” to come in in the final week “like a third-strong quarterback” and saturate the air waves, he said. He pointed to polling the group did that he said showed the NRA more aligned with Virginians’ ideas than Bloomberg’s.
Obenshain spokesman Paul Logan said, “While I’m sure that TV stations appreciate the boost from this influx of out-of-state money from New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, Virginians know that Mark Obenshain is the only candidate for Attorney General who has been endorsed by the Fraternal Order of Police, representing 7,500 men and women in law enforcement, and 116 Republican, Democratic and Independent Sheriffs and prosecutors.”
Bloomberg will have flooded almost $3 million into the state by Election Day, including on local legislative races there on the issue of guns.
Read more: http://www.politico.com/story/2013/10/michael-bloomberg-virginia-attorney-general-mark-obenshain-99030.html#ixzz2j9UcOP8i