Robin Kelly, a Democrat who wants to ban assault weapons, has effectively become Jesse Jackson Jr's replacement in Congress for the Illinois second district after winning a primary for the party's nomination – all but ensuring she will win the 9 April special election in what is a heavily Democratic district.
Kelly, a former member of the Illinois state legislature, was backed by the New York mayor, Michael Bloomberg, in a campaign dominated by a gun control debate that is burning strongly after the Connecticut elementary school massacre.
In the Democratic primary race Kelly emerged early as a leader on gun control issues, a central theme during the race that helped her win support from Independence US, Bloomberg's super political action committee (super-Pac). It poured more than $2m into the race by airing anti-gun ads supporting Kelly, who favours an assault weapons ban and other gun measures proposed by President Barack Obama.
The ads targeted another frontrunner, Debbie Halvorson, a former congresswoman who is against banning assault weapons. The result was a setback for the National Rifle Association, which backed Halvorson and campaigned against Kelly.
"We worked really really hard," Kelly, a former state representative from Matteson, a south Chicago suburb, told the Associated Press. "We were on the right side of the issue and our message resonated."
Oh sure - you worked really hard and you were on the right side of the issue and Bloomberg gave you $2 million dollars to savage your opponent with ads.
So far, Bloomerg's PAC has spent more than $12 million nationwide on races over the gun control issue, donating to candidates who back Bloomberg's policies.
Bloomberg plans to do the same on education reform as well.
Unless the Little Mayor inexplicably goes bankrupt, he's going to have an undue influence on politics for a long, long time.