WASHINGTON--New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg is the major player in the Illinois Democratic primary to replace former Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr.--facing federal corruption charges-- with his anti-gun PAC pumping in $1.4 million so far in the contest to insure the defeat of Debbi Halvorson--with spending likely to exceed $2 million.
Bloomberg's Independence PAC USA ramped up spending in the past week with more to come, spokesman Stefan Friedman told me Saturday.
The PAC jumped in the primary last month focusing spending at first against Halvorson, a former House member.
On Friday, the PAC took sides, releasing an ad running on Chicago cable and broadcast television on behalf of Robin Kelly and against Halvorson and Toi Hutchinson, the top three candidates in the contest.
"Kelly will join President Obama to take on the NRA for effective background checks and to ban deadly assault weapons," says the narrator of the ad, releasing the spot the day Obama was in Chicago talking about violence in the city and his proposals to curb gun violence.
As of Friday, according to Federal Election Commission records, the Bloomberg PAC spend $1,406,972.46 in the Illinois race--more than all the Democratics combined raised.
Early voting already started. The primary is Feb. 26 and the winner in the heavily Democratic second congressional district faces only nominal GOP opposition in the general election.