Five senators buck parties on guns

Five senators up for reelection in 2014 bucked their parties in the Senate’s procedural vote on gun control Thursday.

Both Democrats who voted against the motion face reelection next year in states President Obama lost in the 2012 presidential election: Sens. Mark BegichMark BegichEx-Sen. Kay Hagan joins lobby firm Unable to ban Internet gambling, lawmakers try for moratorium Dem ex-lawmakers defend Schumer on Iran MORE (Alaska) and Mark PryorMark PryorEx-Sen. Kay Hagan joins lobby firm Top Democrats are no advocates for DC statehood Ex-Sen. Landrieu joins law and lobby firm MORE (Ark.).

Three of the 16 Republicans who voted in favor of the motion face reelection next year: Sens. Susan CollinsSusan CollinsSanders is most popular senator, according to constituent poll Senate Dem takes on drugmaker: ‘It’s time to slaughter some hogs’ GOP blocks slate of Obama judicial nominees MORE (Maine), Lindsey GrahamLindsey GrahamTrump address gets mixed reaction from GOP Graham tears into Trump’s ‘pathetic’ foreign policy speech Sen. Cory Gardner endorses Cruz MORE (S.C.) and Lamar AlexanderLamar AlexanderDemocrats block energy spending bill over Iran amendment Overnight Finance: Puerto Rico pressure builds; Big tariff vote Wednesday Senate votes to increase wind energy funding MORE (Tenn.).

ADVERTISEMENT
Wednesday’s motion was a procedural vote that doesn’t even formally begin debate on the gun control measure, but it was still a politically touchy vote.

President Obama and gun control advocates pressed for the vote, while the National Rifle Association warned it would negatively score the votes of any senator who voted to proceed on the issue.

Democrats up for reelection in red states next year who voted with their party and against the NRA include Sens. Mary LandrieuMary Landrieu oil is changing the world and Washington Ex-Sen. Kay Hagan joins lobby firm Republican announces bid for Vitter’s seat MORE (La.), Kay HaganKay Hagan10 Senate seats most likely to flip in 2016 Senate Republicans are feeling the 'Trump effect' Washington's lobby firms riding high MORE (N.C.) and Max BaucusMax BaucusWyden unveils business tax proposal College endowments under scrutiny The chaotic fight for ObamaCare MORE (Mont.).

Sens. Marco RubioMarco RubioSanders is most popular senator, according to constituent poll Toomey: 'Outrageous' for Dems to tie me to Trump Reid, McConnell trade fire over stalled energy bill MORE (Fla.) and Rand PaulRand PaulRand Paul wants to legalize cooperation Dem fears Iran nuke deal gives license to back Saudis GOP lawmakers vie for convention power MORE (Texas) both carried through on their promise to vote against the motion. Both are possible presidential contenders in 2016, and their votes against the motion could fire up GOP primary voters.

Though in a general election, the votes against moving toward a debate on gun control could open them up to attacks.

Both Democrats who voted with the NRA are top political targets for Republicans.

A recent poll funded by the Club for Growth found Pryor behind potential challenger Rep. Tom CottonTom CottonSenators roll out changes to criminal justice bill Senate Dems block spending bill over Iran amendment — again GOP blasts Obama for slow economic growth MORE (R ) by 10 percentage points.

In Alaska, polls suggest Begich is vulnerable, and he already has one prominent potential opponent in Lt. Gov. Mead Treadwell, who recently opened an exploratory committee to look into a bid.

Landrieu is also considered vulnerable but has exhibited a willingness to buck the red-state Democratic trend of showing independence by voting against her party on controversial measures.

On Thursday, she reported raising $1.2 million in the first quarter, which may be boosting her confidence. On the GOP side, Collins is running in a state easily won in 2012 by Obama and where legislators are considering a suite of gun control bills. The president's advocacy arm, Organizing for Action, has targeted her with ads on gun control.

Alexander's vote indicates he feels safe. Though he initially looked vulnerable to a primary challenge, the senator roped nearly the entire Tennessee delegation into his reelection campaign.

No strong candidates have emerged yet to take on Graham, either. He’s repeatedly shown he’s not afraid to vote against conservatives, and he criticized Paul’s recent filibuster on U.S. drone policy.

More in Presidential races

Five takeaways from latest fundraising reports

Read more »