Tuesday, January 29, 2013

In Chicagoland, Exactly One Month From Today...


Residents of the IL-02-- Jesse Jackson Jr.'s old Southland seat-- will decide who's going to Congress on February 26, 4 weeks from today. And although there are nearly two dozen candidates running, polls show only two in the double-digits, progressive state Senator Toi Hutchinson and self-described "conservative Democrat," ex-Congresswoman Debbie Halvorson. They're neck and neck but Chicagoland voters who haven't been paying close enough attention to see the difference got a big jolt today from a headline in the Chicago Tribune: Halvorson says she won't join Democrats on assault weapons ban.

It certainly isn't the first time Halvorson has been more in tune with right-wing Republicans than with her own party and with the constituents who sent her to Washington. She was one of only 27 right-wing Democrats who opposed Wall Street reform and voted against Dodd-Frank, almost all of whom, including Halvorson, were subsequently defeated when Democratic voters boycotted their reelection bids. She worked with the GOP to water down the tough provisions that were meant to protect investors and bank customers from the financial predators who have nurtured her own tawdry political career.

Halvorson has been a consistent darling on the NRA and refuses to back President Obama's common sense, moderate approach to putting an end to the NRA's reign of terror in American streets and schools. In stark contrast, a few weeks ago Senator Hutchinson did a guest post at DWT laying out why she's sponsoring a ban on assault weapons in the Illinois legislature and why she backs President Obama's approach.
There is no question that in America we have a problem with guns. The Newtown tragedy, the Aurora shooting, Columbine. These are places-- events-- that all of us will remember for the rest of our lives. And for me there is no question that there are certain kinds of weapons soldiers should have, and other kinds that civilians should be allowed to own.

As a State Senator I represent a district that straddles the landscape of South Suburban Chicago and the rural counties of Will and Kankakee. And if I win this race for Congress in the 2nd district, I will cover even more rural areas. I have a lot of constituents that are hunters. These people firmly believe that they should always be allowed to own guns that they need for recreation, and I’m with them. But I know, and they agree, that no one needs an AR-15 to bring down a deer. And no one needs a 100-round magazine on that semi-automatic for recreation or self-defense. So while I always will stand up for the hunters in my district, I also am a cosponsor on two bills in Illinois that would outlaw assault weapons and high capacity clips.
Halvorson is the only serious candidate who refuses to back the President and the Democratic Party-- and grassroots public opinion-- on an assault weapons ban. She's sticking with the NRA. She read off a list of Republican Party talking points written by the NRA at a candidates forum on Sunday at Trinity United Church of Christ on W. 95th St. "For her part," reports The Tribune, "Halvorson was adamant against looking at a gun ban. 'I refuse to take a look at these wide ranging gun bans and pass one more law against a law abiding citizen until there is something done against those who get their guns illegally or criminal,' she said after the forum."

She doesn't sound anything like Toi Hutchinson, who told us yesterday that "Many across the country were hopeful that the NRA would moderate their position after the profound tragedy we experienced at Newtown, but unfortunately their prescription for the epidemic of gun violence that has gripped our country has been not only distributing more guns, but also letting them into our schools. Their response angered me. This kind of ideological, single-minded approach to our problems isn’t acceptable to me and it’s why I am a co-sponsor on legislation here in Illinois to ban assault weapons and high capacity magazines."

Blue America is eager to help Toi respond to the barrage of misleading campaign mail Halvorson has been sending out. We have four weeks to make a difference. Please consider making a contribution at the Blue America special election page here.

UPDATE: Mayor Bloomberg Has A Surprise For NRA Shill Debbie Halvorson

The Chicago Tribune just reported that Halvorson may not get away with her bullshit politics much longer. Half a million dollars is the first installment to make sure Debbie Halvorson's miserable political career stays as dead as it has been since her back-to-back defeats in 2010 and 2012.
The first TV ad in the special primary election to replace ex-U.S. Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr. comes from New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s super political action committee and targets Democrat Debbie Halvorson’s support of gun owner rights.

A spokesman for Independence USA, Bloomberg’s gun-control backing super PAC, said it will launch what it called a “significant” TV and cable ad campaign on Wednesday to inform Chicago-area voters about Halvorson’s past support from the National Rifle Association. No details on the size of the ad buy were disclosed.

...In the TV ad, a narrator says, “In the race to replace Jesse Jackson, watch out for Debbie Halvorson. When she was in Congress before, Halvorson got an A from the NRA. The NRA: against comprehensive background checks, against banning deadly assault weapons, against banning high capacity ammunition clips.”

...On Monday, Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle endorsed state Sen. Toi Hutchinson of Olympia Fields for the Democratic nomination. Preckwinkle contended Halvorson was too conservative for the South Side and south suburban 2nd Congressional District.

Hutchinson, who replaced Halvorson in the Illinois Senate when Halvorson was elected to Congress, also has gotten NRA backing in the past. But Hutchinson noted she is a co-sponsor of state legislation that would ban semiautomatic assault weapons and large capacity clips in Springfield, though the measure is unlikely to go anywhere.

The Bloomberg super PAC is not endorsing a candidate in the ad. But the ad said Halvorson co-sponsored a measure that would allow some criminals to carry loaded, hidden guns into Chicago.”

That was a reference to unsuccessful federal legislation to legalize public possession of firearms across state lines, if the gun owners had a permit and were not barred from carrying a concealed firearm by federal or state law. Halvorson was among 209 sponsors for the 2009 bill.

Halvorson has said she could not “in good conscience” place additional gun bans on law-abiding citizens until current gun laws were more strongly enforced, though she does support universal gun checks and an upgrading of the database to ensure criminals and the mentally ill do not get guns.

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