“Representative John Barrow has decided to put his love of the NRA above his concern for his fellow Americans. That is not acceptable,” Coalition to Stop Gun Violence executive director Josh Horwitz said in a statement.
The Coalition also condemned Barrow for accepting $27,250 in NRA campaign contributions over a period of eight years. “Rep. Barrow has been bought for the price of a new truck. It would be laughable if his lack of regard for our families’ safety wasn’t so dangerous,” Horwitz said.
The Coalition to Stop Gun Violence is comprised of 48 member organizations, including the liberal lobbying group Americans for Democratic Action, the pro-Obama labor union the United Federation of Teachers, and the National Urban League. Obama spoke at the National Urban League annual conference in July, prior to the Newtown massacre, stating that gun restrictions should be “common sense.”
Barrow’s statement represents a notable Democratic departure from the party line, as the administration plans to use the existing Obama for America campaign infrastructure to publicly push for the president’s gun control policies.
Vice President Joe Biden told Democratic lawmakers this week that the existing Obama re-election campaign infrastructure will be used to mobilize the public on the gun control issue. CNN reported last week that Obama’s 2012 campaign, Obama for America, will be utilized to push the president’s second term policies.
Coalition spokesman Everitt stressed to TheDC that the Coalition did not coordinate with the White House or with Obama for America on either the Heitkamp or Barrow ads.
Obama’s gun policies have placed Barrow in a difficult political position, as he struggles to pay lip service to the Democratic agenda while keeping in mind his own political interests in an increasingly Republican, pro-Second Amendment district.
Barrow was recently identified by the National Republican Congressional Committee as a top target to defeat in 2014. Barrow was considered highly vulnerable in his 2012 re-election race due to a redistricting that cost him his liberal base in Savannah, but Barrow held on to win with 54 percent of the vote.
In late December, Barrow also split with Obama’s agenda by opposing the president’s executive order authorizing congressional and vice presidential pay raises, calling the order “irresponsible.”