Senate Dems to face wrath for opposing Obama’s gun grab

Angry ObamaLast week’s defeat of the Toomey-Manchin “compromise” on expanded background checks included four Democratic senators voting in opposition. This week, those four senators found out they will be targeted by activist groups – and fellow senators – in their reelection campaigns.

Sens. Max Baucus of Montana, Mark Pryor of Arkansas and Mark Begich of Alaska are up for reelection in 2014. Sen. Heidi Heitkamp was just elected to her first term in 2012 to represent North Dakota. All four red states voted for Republican Mitt Romney in the presidential race last year, according to Bloomberg Buisinessweek.

President Obama declared it a “shameful day” when the measure failed, delivering an angry speech in the White House Rose Garden. Others who supported the president’s plan are also angry.

“The level of anger around this is higher than on anything I’ve seen in years, decades,” Matt Bennett of Third Way, a gun-policy issues group told Businessweek. “These senators do not have a suitable explanation for what they did.”

Jennifer Duffy, a Senate analyst at the nonpartisan Cook Political Report in Washington said that the votes probably wouldn’t hurt the senators, and in fact, may even help based on the active gun culture of their states.

“The senators have made a calculation the NRA isn’t going away,” Jon Carson, executive director of Organizing for Action, a nonprofit group that took over Obama’s campaign organization told Businessweek. “We have more people on our side, and we need to call out these senators.”

Carson said his group is planning events across the country “to praise four Republicans who supported the background-check plan and single out the Democrats and Republicans who voted it down.”

The NRA had announced the day before the vote that it would grade lawmakers’ votes on the final procedural motion and passage of the compromise, after initially indicating that the votes would not count toward the ratings, making it more difficult for some senators to support the bill.

NRA executive director Chris Cox said in a statement after the vote, “As we have noted previously, expanding background checks, at gun shows or elsewhere, will not reduce violent crime or keep our kids safe in their schools.”

Democratic Sen. Barbara Boxer of California said lawmakers who voted against the gun plan should be ousted, a warning that repercussions may come from their own party.

“They have to be replaced,” she said on San Francisco’s KQED radio. “The people have to say no, this isn’t right.”

Entire Bloomberg Businessweek report here.

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