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CNN: How Everytown for Gun Safety and Moms Demand Action Flipped Virginia

November 6, 2019

This morning, CNN published a new story that details Everytown for Gun Safety and Mom Demand Action’s winning, aggressive strategy to flip Virginia to a gun sense majority in the NRA’s home state. Everytown for Gun Safety Action Fund and Everytown for Gun Safety Victory Fund spent a record $2.5 million in Virginia across 22 of the most competitive districts, making us the largest outside investor in the state. Moms Demand Action — our grassroots volunteer army — knocked tens of thousands of doors and made over 100,000 calls in targeted races.

CNN writes:

“More than $166,000 in contributions, mailings and digital ads to help a political newcomer take on a Republican incumbent in a Richmond-area Senate district. More than $146,000 to help an Air Force veteran seek an open Senate seat in a fast-growing suburban county. About $75,000 to target the only Republican representing Northern Virginia in the state’s House of Delegates. 

“On Tuesday in Virginia, all three seats flipped from Republican to Democrat — after a $2.5 million spending spree in the state by Everytown for Gun Safety, a gun-control group aligned with billionaire former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg. The investments made the Bloomberg-affiliated organization the largest outside spender in the elections that saw Democrats take control of the state’s executive and legislative branches for the first time in a generation.

“Everytown officials — who provided CNN with details of their Virginia strategy — say their approach to the off-year election demonstrates the potency of the gun-safety message one year before the nation heads to the polls to decide control of Congress and the White House. The spending also underscores how aggressively the deep-pocketed group will pursue its agenda in the months ahead. Everytown outspent the embattled National Rifle Association by roughly 8-to-1 in Virginia, plowing money into the state to target vulnerable Republicans months in advance of Tuesday’s election.

“‘Gun safety will be one of the defining issues of 2020,’ said John Feinblatt, president of Everytown.”

The winning strategy pressure-tested what’s to come in 2020: Voters will cast their ballots for gun safety champions, with Everytown and Moms Demand Action ready to replicate the success in Virginia by electing gun sense majorities up and down the ballot.

The decisive victory for gun safety last night came just months after the Republican-controlled General Assembly failed to take action during a special session in the wake of the deadly Virginia Beach shooting, ending it after just 90 minutes without any votes on broadly popular measures like background checks on all gun sales or red flag legislation. Public polling and Everytown-conducted voter research both showed gun safety was the top issue for Virginia voters.

Everytown’s $2.5 million investment in Virginia’s elections included (more details here):

  • Endorsing 25 candidates across Virginia
  • $750,000 in digital ads highlighting Virginia Republican candidate’s opposition to gun safety
  • $620,000 in direct mail highlighting Virginia Republican candidates’ opposition to gun safety
  • $538,000 in direct contributions, including: $175,000 to the Virginia Senate Democratic Caucus, $150,000 to the Virginia House Democratic Caucus, $100,000 to Democratic Party of Virginia’s Coordinated Campaign and $113,000 to Everytown for Gun Safety Action Fund endorsed candidates
  • $270,000 in district by district polling and battleground message testing

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