New York mayor Michael Bloomberg’s anti-gun group announced Wednesday that it will stop running a negative television ad targeting Sen. Pat Toomey now that the Pennsylvania Republican has signed on to a proposal to expand background checks to gun show and online firearms purchases.
Mayors Against Illegal Guns had been hammering Toomey, a junior senator with an “A” rating from the National Rifle Association, with negative ads in Keystone State. But his latest proposal, which he is co-sponsoring with West Virginia Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin, has Bloomberg and company singing a different tune.
The coalition’s initial negative ad featured an urgent-voiced narrator who said, “Tell Senator Toomey, don’t protect criminals…Demand action now,” and displayed Toomey’s office phone number. Now the coalition is running a positive ad praising Toomey.
“Senator Toomey understands background checks,” says the ad’s upbeat-sounding narrator.
“They continued their ad buy but switched it from negative to laudatory,” Pennsylvania-based Republican consultant Christopher Nicholas told the Daily Caller.
Nicholas said he believed that Bloomberg’s initial negative ad did not influence Toomey’s position on background checks, and noted the seeming absurdity in Bloomberg’s group completely switching the tone of its ad buy in light of recent developments.
“Mayors Against Illegal Guns announced that it would stop airing ads in Pennsylvania and thanked Senator Toomey for standing with Pennsylvanians and supporting this commonsense legislation. The ad that was pulled from the air and a previous ad that aired in Pennsylvania can be viewed at www.DemandAction.org/Toomey,” according to a Mayors Against Illegal Guns press release.
“You lose face when you’re attacking someone on an issue that they’ve introduced legislation on” that conforms to your view of the issue, Nicholas said of Bloomberg.
“The next shoe to drop is, Bloomberg taking credit for it. Will (Mayors Against Illegal Guns) now go around and say, ‘look at what we accomplished with our ad? Look how we got Toomey to change his position,'” Nicholas said.
“The senator understands the nuances of the state and the political optics. I think there will be some grumblings from the very ardent pro-gun folks, but they still understand that he’s their best advocate,” Nicholas said.