Chairman of the Senate Subcommittee on Consumer Affairs, Product Safety and Insurance Sen. Mark Pryor (D-AR) testifies before the Financial Services and General Government Subcommittee on Capitol Hill September 12, 2007 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, N.Y. (USA TODAY) - New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg's gun-control group launched a new ad campaign aimed at Democratic Sen. Mark Pryor, who is up for re-election next year in Arkansas.
Pryor was one of four Democrats who voted last month against a Senate bill to expand background checks on gun buyers. Mayors Against Illegal Guns, the group co-founded by Bloomberg, had targeted Pryor and other senators in a multimillion-dollar ad campaign in late March ahead of the vote.
Angela Bradford-Barnes, former chief financial officer for the Arkansas Democratic Party, says in the ad that a friend was shot to death and that she was "heartbroken" by Pryor's vote. Bill Gwatney, at the time chairman of the Arkansas Democratic Party, was shot to death in 2008.
"This bill may not be perfect, and it cannot undue my tragic loss, but if it stops even one person from causing this pain to another family, it's worth it," Bradford-Barnes says in the ad.
Pryor denounced the new ad in a statement Friday and invoked Gwatney, whose name was not mentioned in the TV ad. Pryor said the Senate gun bill would not have adequately addressed gun violence caused by people with mental health issues and noted he voted for separate legislation that would have done so.
"Mayor Bloomberg's attack ad politicizes the death of my friend by misleading people into thinking that his bill would have prevented Bill Gwatney's tragic death," Pryor said. "The fact is it wouldn't have, which makes Mayor Bloomberg's ad even more disgusting."
Pryor told an Arkansas audience earlier this month that he would be willing to look at a revised gun proposal if it combined parts of the background checks plan by Sens. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., and Pat Toomey, R-Pa., and another drafted by Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa.
Politico reports the Arkansas ad is backed by $350,000 worth of air time and will run through June 6.
Mayors Against Illegal Guns released ads in May also targeting Republican Sens. Jeff Flake of Arizona and Kelly Ayotte of New Hampshire for their votes opposing the background checks bill.
Follow Catalina Camia on Twitter at @ccamia.