Before the special election primary in late February to select a Democratic candidate to run for the seat to replace disgraced Congressman Jesse Jackson Jr., few political pundits gave Robin Kelly much of a chance.
In a crowded field of candidates, Kelly ran against two high-profile candidates with “A” ratings from the gun-touting National Rifle Association. Kelly, on the other hand, had a lifetime “F” rating, which she considered a badge honor but others considered the kiss of death.
The NRA told its members that it wasn’t wasting any money in the race but secretly poured a lot of money, time and resources into it, using third party political action committees and contract consultants. On the other side, New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg‘s independent political action committee, backed Kelly. Bloomberg, an advocate of strong and sensible gun regulations, wanted to send a message to the NRA.
Kelly is the kind of candidate the gun nuts hate: A politician not afraid to advocate a ban on assault-style weapons, a ban on high-capacity magazines and elimination of gun show loopholes that allows felons to purchase firearms without the threat of background checks.
The swaggering leadership of the gun organization didn’t even come close as it ignored a recent USA today poll that showed a majority of Americans support putting a stop to assault-style weapons, large capacity magazines and felon-loving gun shows.
Kelly was also the only candidate in the race who signed a pledge to never accept support from the NRA. She was also running in a district where polls showed only 17 percent of likely voters think much of the NRA.
So Kelly won and the NRA lost.
“Robin Kelly supports taking guns out of the hands of criminals, the NRA does not. Picking her was an easy decision for any voter with sense,” Andrew Koteas, a voter in Illinois 2nd Congressional district, told Capitol Hill Blue after the election.
The gun organization, of course, claims things are different in the rest of the nation but a new NBC/Wall Street Journal polls shows that 61 percent of Americans want stricter laws on guns — an increase of nine percent in recent months.