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Everytown Announces $4.5 Million Ad Campaign to Get Out the Vote and Swing Competitive Races Across Emerging Battleground States

October 19, 2020

Everytown Doubles Down on Emerging Battlegrounds of Arizona, North Carolina and Texas, and Adds New Spending Across Competitive State Legislative Contests

Campaign Will Include “Get Out the Vote” TV Ads, New TV and Digital Ads Targeting State Legislative Contests and U.S. House Races, Print Ads, and a Direct Mail Campaign

NEW YORK — Today, Everytown for Gun Safety Victory Fund and Everytown for Gun Safety Action Fund (“Everytown”) together announced a collective new $4.5 million in paid media targeting voters in emerging battleground states and key state legislative contests. The ads will largely highlight Republicans’ failure to keep Americans safe from both COVID-19 and gun violence — putting the gun lobby ahead of public safety — and call for Americans to vote for gun sense candidates.

“As COVID-19 rates rise and gun violence continues to claim 100 American lives a day, Everytown is doubling down on our work to hold politicians accountable for failing to address these two public health emergencies,” said John Feinblatt, president of Everytown for Gun Safety. “A clear majority of Americans want stronger gun laws, and we’re going to make sure their voices are heard on Election Day.” 

“You can’t overestimate the importance of this election, up and down the ballot — from the presidential race to statehouse contests across the country,” said Charlie Kelly, senior political advisor to Everytown for Gun Safety. “As people are heading to the polls, we’re going to be there to remind voters which lawmakers have done absolutely nothing to prevent our gun violence crisis, and urge them to elect gun sense candidates.” 

The ad campaign will include:

  • More than $700,000 in TV and digital ads in Arizona, North Carolina, and Texas to “Get Out the Vote” for gun sense candidates. The ads will target key voter constituencies, including young voters, Black voters, and Latino voters.
  • $2 million in TV ads targeting Troy Nehls in Texas’ 22nd congressional district and Beth Van Duyne in Texas’ 24th congressional district.
  • More than $1.4 million in TV and digital ads targeting state legislative contests in Arizona, Iowa, Minnesota, North Carolina, and Texas. The ads will in part highlight the failure of Republicans to act on gun violence, and how that mimics their failure to act on the COVID-19 pandemic — which has exacerbated the gun violence crisis. 
  • A $350,000 direct mail campaign which will be sent to voters in competitive legislative districts in Arizona, Texas, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, and Minnesota. The mailers will feature a personal letter from a survivor of gun violence in those states, telling the story of their experience with gun violence and urging their neighbors to vote out Republicans in the state legislature who have refused to pass common-sense gun laws. 
  • $50,000 in print ads to run in AAPI outlets in Texas. The ads, produced in partnership with AAPI Victory Fund, highlight the Republican-controlled legislature’s failure to pass laws like background checks on all gun sales, and urge voters to support gun sense candidates for the Texas House. 

Earlier this year, Everytown announced major electoral initiatives in Texas, North Carolina, and Arizona — states where growing populations, diversifying suburbs, and a history of Republican inaction on gun violence have created new battlegrounds for gun safety. 

In 2019, Everytown was the largest outside spender in Virginia’s elections, spending $2.5 million to flip both chambers of the General Assembly to a gun sense majority for the first time in decades. Polls showed gun safety was the number one issue for Virginians voters in the off-year elections, after Republicans refused to take action in response to a mass shooting in Virginia Beach. 

To recreate that success across the country, Everytown pledged to spend at least $10 million to flip key state legislative chambers to a gun sense majority in 2020. In September, Everytown announced a $9 million digital ad and direct mail campaign across six target battleground states.

Since January, Everytown has engaged in extensive voter research to guide its paid media campaign. Key findings include: 

  • Internal polling shows that voters have become more supportive of stronger gun laws since the pandemic. 
  • A survey of nearly 17,000 voters in battleground states found that messages saying comparing inaction on gun violence to inaction on COVID-19 was one of the most powerful messages at moving voters to Vice President Joe Biden. 
  • A July poll of Latino voters in Texas, Arizona, and Florida showed that 47% of Latino voters have become more supportive of common-sense gun laws since the shooting in El Paso. Messaging reminding voters of lawmakers’ inaction since mass shootings was one of the most salient messages tested. 
  • A July poll conducted in partnership with Higher Heights for America found that 86% of Black voters, including 84% of those less likely to turn out on Election Day and 88% of Black women, consider a candidate’s position on guns as more important than a candidate’s stance towards Trump. 

A qualitative survey of swing AAPI voters in Texas, conducted in partnership with AAPI Victory Fund and Forward Majority, found that top issues for these voters are the economy, affordable health care, and gun violence. AAPI voters are a key growing constituency in swing districts like Dallas-Fort Worth and Houston.

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