Heidi Heitkamp, who ran for the Senate as a progressive, punked out when it came to voting for gun control, and Richard Daley wants his money back.
April 22, 2013

Bill Daley was not only Obama's chief of staff and a former secretary of commerce, he's a major Democratic bundler. He's really ticked off that Heidi Heitkamp, who ran for the Senate as a progressive, punked out when it came to voting for gun control. He's urging contributors to cut off the Democrats who helped the Republicans filibuster the bill:

I want my money back.

Last October, I gave $2,500 to support Heidi Heitkamp’s campaign to become North Dakota’s junior senator. A few weeks later, she won a surprise victory.

I have had a long career in government and politics, but I don’t donate heavily to political campaigns. When I contribute, it’s because I know the candidate well or am really impressed with the person. Heidi Heitkamp was one of the latter: She struck me as strong-willed, principled and an independent thinker.

But this week, Heitkamp betrayed those hopes.

She voted to block legislation to make gun background checks more comprehensive. Her vote — along with those of 41 Republicans and three other Democrats — was a key reason the measure fell short of the 60 votes needed for passage.

Polling has shown that nine in 10 Americans and eight in 10 gun owners support a law to require every buyer to go through a background check on every gun sale. In North Dakota, the support was even higher: 94 percent. Yet in explaining her vote, Heitkamp had the gall to say that she “heard overwhelmingly from the people of North Dakota” and had to listen to them and vote no. It seems more likely that she heard from the gun lobby and chose to listen to it instead.

Here in Chicago, we know how serious a problem gun violence is. Over Easter weekend, 25 people were shot in Chicago. Last year, more than 400 young people were shot in our city. Our mayor and police are working tirelessly to fight gun crime; over the past decade, the Chicago Police Department has taken 50,000 guns off the streets. But illegal gun traffickers don’t respect state lines, and easy access to firearms in other states helps fuel gun violence in Chicago.

Instead of getting help from Washington, 45 senators seem determined to make it easy for criminals to get guns, no questions asked.

And the truth is that gun violence is not just some big-city, blue-state problem. Which state has the country’s highest rate of death by gun? Alaska.

Yet both Alaska senators — Democrat Mark Begich and Republican Lisa Murkowski — voted against expanding background checks to keep guns out of the hands of criminals and those so mentally ill that they are a danger to themselves or others.

The other two Democrats who voted against background checks are Mark Pryor of Arkansas and Max Baucus of Montana. Like Begich, they will be running for reelection next year. And no doubt they’ll come to Chicago, New York, Los Angeles and other cities looking for money to fuel their campaigns. These cities, of course, are also too often the destination for illegal guns flowing in from out of state.

So I’ll have some advice for my friends in Chicago, New York and Los Angeles: Just say no to the Democrats who said no on background checks.

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