The Free Press, Mankato, MN

State, national news

February 25, 2013

New York Mayor Bloomberg finances to challenge gun rights candidate in Chicago race

WASHINGTON — One of the key players in a special Democratic congressional primary Tuesday in Chicago is from New York.

That city’s mayor, Michael R. Bloomberg, is using his vast wealth to challenge a candidate running on a gun rights platform in the first election since the school shooting in Newtown, Conn. It’s part of his crusade to be as a political counterweight to the National Rifle Association.

The NRA has chosen not to counter Bloomberg’s ads attacking its preferred candidate, former Rep. Debbie Halvorson, and liberal Chicago districts are an imperfect test case. But Bloomberg’s lavish participation in the race may be enough to cause political ripples, as other lawmakers are put on notice that next time, the mayor’s millions could be spent in their districts.

“Folks running for office are going to have to stand behind their record,” said Stefan Friedman, spokesman for Bloomberg’s “super PAC,” Independence USA.

Gun rights supporters have clearly gotten the message. Richard Pearson, executive director of the Illinois State Rifle Association, said his group was caught off-guard by the mayor’s surprise attack, and he warned sympathizers in other states that “Bloomberg is coming to your state. Be ready.”

The race is for the seat that was held by Jesse Jackson Jr. until his resignation last fall. His congressional tenure was cut short by mental health troubles and allegations of ethical lapses. More than a dozen Democrats launched bids to replace him; in the solidly liberal district, the primary winner is almost certain to win in April’s general election.

Halvorson has tried to distinguish herself from the large Democratic field, and to appeal to voters in a rural portion of the district, by supporting rights to carry concealed weapons and opposing an assault weapons ban. Bloomberg’s advertising barrage has relentlessly attacked Halvorson, who has an “A” rating from the NRA, and at the same time championed Cook County administrator Robin Kelly, who has made her support for new gun laws a centerpiece of her campaign.

Text Only | Photo Reprints
State, national news
  • Injured snowy owl ready to be released ST. PAUL (AP) — A rare snowy owl that gained national attention when it was apparently hit by a bus in the nation's capital is scheduled to be released into the wild after a rehab stint in Minnesota. The Raptor Center at the University of Minnesota

    April 18, 2014

  • Court case to test 'Buy the Farm' law NEW PRAGUE (AP) — A case set for trial next week is expected to test Minnesota's "Buy the Farm" law, which is meant to require utilities building high-voltage power lines to buy out farms in the way if affected landowners demand it. The case pits th

    April 18, 2014

  • Judge strikes down part of state energy law MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — A federal judge ruled Friday that part of a Minnesota law designed to promote the use of renewable energy is unconstitutional because it attempts to control business that takes place outside state borders — and she barred Minnesota

    April 18, 2014

  • White House updating online privacy policy A new Obama administration privacy policy released Friday explains how the government will gather the user data of online visitors to WhiteHouse.gov, mobile apps and social media sites, and it clarifies that online comments, whether tirades or tribut

    April 18, 2014

  • Horse virus cases showing up in Upper Midwest BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) — State officials in the Upper Midwest are cautioning horse owners about a virus that spreads easily among the animals and can lead to breathing problems, abortions and nervous system disorders. Three cases of equine herpesvirus

    April 18, 2014

  • Bear attacks spark debate: Kill them, or leave them alone? ORLANDO, Fla.—Dallas Smith thinks he has the answer to Central Florida’s black-bear threat, and he’s ready to lock and load it. “I think the fear of God needs to be put back into them,” said Smith, 47, who wants state authorities to lift restriction

    April 18, 2014

  • Tourism push plays up 'Only in Minnesota' ST. PAUL — (AP) — Say goodbye to "More to Explore." Minnesota tourism promoters ushered in a new slogan Thursday that focuses on "Only in Minnesota" experiences as part of their largest-ever advertising campaign. The revamped message kicks off a maj

    April 17, 2014

  • mfp ap pipeline photo Minnesota Pipe Line seeks to expand capacity MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — Minnesota Pipe Line Co. announced plans Thursday to nearly double the capacity of a crude oil pipeline that carries oil from Canada and North Dakota to the two refineries in the Twin Cities that produce most of Minnesota's and much

    April 17, 2014 1 Photo

  • Holder asserts his commitment to fighting heroin WASHINGTON — Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. has been crusading for more lenient treatment for nonviolent drug offenders, making it a top priority before he is expected to leave office this year. Recently, however, he has been forced to confront

    April 17, 2014

  • Less-schooled whites lose longevity, study finds ATLANTA — Barbara Gentry slowly shifts her heavy frame out of a chair and uses a walker to move the dozen feet to a chair not far from the pool table at the Buford Senior Center. Her hair is white and a cough sometimes interrupts her speech, but she

    April 17, 2014