Halvorson, Beale try to chill Kelly momentum by attacking Bloomberg super PAC
railroad crossing (Tribune illustration / June 29, 2015)
The comments came during a WTTW Ch-11 debate among the three top tier candidates for the Democratic nomination to fill the 2nd Congressional District seat formerly held by Jesse Jackson Jr. Halvorson alleged that Kelly would be beholden to Bloomberg if elected to Congress. Beale called the outside spending “unfair.”
But Kelly defended Bloomberg’s involvement, noting that members of Congress are casting votes on issues of national importance.
Halvorson, a former one-term House member from Crete, has been on the receiving end of most of the attacks from Bloomberg’s Independence USA super PAC, which is spending more than $2.1 million in airing the only broadcast TV ads in the race. The super PAC, which spent at least $1.4 million criticizing Halvorson’s previous backing from the National Rifle Association, has endorsed Kelly.
Halvorson called the super PAC’s TV ads “false and over the top” because she has not sought or received an endorsement by the NRA for the Feb. 26 special Democratic primary election.
“Robin can say all she wants about this not buying a seat or influencing anybody, but when somebody endorses you and spends ($2.1) million to endorse you and do this, who are you going to answer to when you get to Congress?” Halvorson said. “This is ridiculous when somebody thinks they can buy a race. What’s next?”
Beale said it was unfair of the wealthy Bloomberg to try to tell voters in the South Side and south suburban district how to vote.
“You’re talking about a billionaire dumping millions of dollars into a race, trying to dictate to the people on who they think our representative should be,” Beale said. “So, I think the people are personally outraged that someone from the outside is trying to influence this race.”
Kelly acknowledged the Bloomberg super PAC’s endorsement and said she believed voters were “glad someone is getting involved and is fighting the NRA.”
“I think it is a national issue,” Kelly said of gun violence. “Also, I’m sure all of us have gotten support from outside the 2nd Congressional District. He’s not the only person that has supported me from outside the district.
The debate was held on the same day as the politically active Service Employees International Union announced its support for Kelly. The union had previously been running radio advertisements critical of Halvorson.