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 BegichThe future of the Arctic 2016’s battle for the Senate: A shifting map Trump campaign left out of Alaska voter guide MORE (Alaska) and Mark PryorMark PryorCotton pitches anti-Democrat message to SC delegation Ex-Sen. Kay Hagan joins lobby firm Top Democrats are no advocates for DC statehood MORE (Ark.).
Three of the 16 Republicans who voted in favor of the motion face reelection next year: Sens. Susan CollinsSusan CollinsGOP rep faces testy crowd at constituent meeting over ObamaCare DeVos vows to be advocate for 'great' public schools GOP senators introducing ObamaCare replacement Monday MORE (Maine), Lindsey GrahamLindsey GrahamSchumer, Cardin to introduce legislation on Russia sanctions Graham says he will vote for Tillerson The Hill's 12:30 Report MORE (S.C.) and Lamar AlexanderLamar AlexanderSenate committee vote on DeVos postponed Cheney calls for DeVos to be confirmed ‘promptly’ With Trump pick Tom Price, cool heads can prevail on health reform MORE (Tenn.).
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 LandrieuFive unanswered questions after Trump's upset victory Pavlich: O’Keefe a true journalist Trump’s implosion could cost GOP in Louisiana Senate race MORE (La.), Kay HaganKay Hagan Former Sen. Kay Hagan in ICU after being rushed to hospital GOP senator floats retiring over gridlock 2016’s battle for the Senate: A shifting map MORE (N.C.) and Max BaucusMax BaucusFive reasons why Tillerson is likely to get through Business groups express support for Branstad nomination The mysterious sealed opioid report fuels speculation MORE (Mont.).
Sens. Marco RubioMarco RubioGOP, Dems hear different things from Trump Senate committee to vote Monday on Tillerson Tillerson met with top State official: report MORE (Fla.) and Rand PaulRand PaulDems blast Trump plans for deep spending cuts Trump team prepares dramatic cuts Paul, Lee call on Trump to work with Congress on foreign policy 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 CottonGOP, Dems hear different things from Trump The Hill's 12:30 Report GOP senator: Obama is ‘a good role model’ 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.