Knock me over with a feather. A well-known local pro-gun control official, helped by an overwhelming $2 million in funding from a Michale Bloomberg-backed group, won last night's splintered Democratic congressional primary in the Illinois district (IL-02) formerly represented by Jesse Jackson Jr., which includes much of the South Side of Chicago, with 52% of the vote. A "whopping" 30,872 people pulled the lever for winner Robin Kelly.
Glenn Reynolds at Instapundit noted how little this really means: "It's setting the bar pretty low to say that electing an anti-gunner to Congress in Chicago would be proof of Bloomberg's strength." That of course is not how Alex Isenstadt at Politico reported it, virtually giving the platform to Bloomberg:
A multimillion-dollar ad blitz by New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg to stop an NRA-backed House candidate in Illinois paid off Tuesday night, as local official Robin Kelly crushed more than a dozen Democratic candidates vying to replace disgraced former Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr.
Bloomberg and gun control proponents seized on the results as evidence of momentum in their push to enact President Barack Obama’s gun control package. The mayor will take that message to Washington Wednesday in meetings with Vice President Joe Biden, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) and Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.), according to Bloomberg’s public schedule.
... The outcome marked a major win for Bloomberg, who spent around $2.3 million attacking Halvorson for her pro-gun views and propping up Kelly. The ad blitz swamped the underfunded ex-congresswoman and prompted her to brand him as an out-of-town billionaire trying to buy a House seat.
In the wake of the tragic Newtown, Conn., shootings, and with Chicago’s violent streets as its backdrop, the race emerged as a referendum on the national debate over gun control.
Excuse me ... I had to pick myself off the floor after laughing uncontrollably at that "referendum sentence. ... There now, let's resume:
... His Tuesday win signals that Bloomberg is ready to play another outsize role in 2014, targeting gun-supporting candidates.
... Liberal groups hailed the result as a defeat for the NRA.
Finally, in Paragraph 11, Isenstadt acknowledged that treating the result as a referendum is "debatable." Actually, as Instapundit noted, it's not. It means almost nothing.
For some context, in a 10-person race in Ohio's Second District Republican congressional primary eight years ago, candidate Pat DeWine was heavily criticized for spending an unheard-of $1 million. Bloomberg threw in twice as much, and had the added advantage of being able to spend it all while knowing that Kelly's opponents couldn't possibly respond in a meaningful way.
All this primary may have proven is that big money can buy a primary with tight timing. Give anyone in a pro-gun district the oppportunity to raise outrage over outside interference as an issue in a race with normal timing, and it probably won't matter how much money Bloomberg pours in.
Cross-posted at BizzyBlog.com.