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 CollinsDems, greens gear up for fight against Trump EPA pick Medicare looms over Trump-Ryan alliance Senators crafting bill to limit deportations under Trump MORE (Maine), Lindsey GrahamLindsey GrahamOversight panel demands answers on Pentagon waste report Overnight Cybersecurity: Retired general picked to head DHS | Graham vows to probe Russian election interference Overnight Tech: AT&T, Time Warner CEOs defend merger before Congress | More tech execs join Trump team | Republican details path to undoing net neutrality MORE (S.C.) and Lamar AlexanderLamar AlexanderMnuchin, Price meet with GOP senators Reid bids farewell to the Senate Reid defends relationship with McConnell in farewell speech 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 HaganGOP senator floats retiring over gridlock 2016’s battle for the Senate: A shifting map The untold stories of the 2016 battle for the Senate MORE (N.C.) and Max BaucusMax BaucusBusiness groups express support for Branstad nomination The mysterious sealed opioid report fuels speculation Lobbying World MORE (Mont.).
Sens. Marco RubioMarco Rubio House passes water bill with Flint aid, drought relief What the 2016 election can tell us about 2018 midterms Fight over water bill heats up in Senate MORE (Fla.) and Rand PaulRand PaulBrexit leader Farage pushing US-UK trade deal to Trump Senate sends annual defense bill to Obama's desk GOP rep: Trump has 'extra-constitutional' view of presidency 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 CottonArk., Texas senators put cheese dip vs. queso to the test Overnight Defense: Debate over Mattis heats up | White House releases military force rules Senate GOP to Obama: Stop issuing new rules 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.