To: Interested Parties
From: Charlie Kelly, Senior Political Advisor, Everytown for Gun Safety
Date: November 9, 2022
RE: A Good Night for Gun Safety
As the dust settles and races are called on an election that was fought and won on many fronts, one thing is clear: gun safety is a winning issue, from the U.S. Senate, to Governors races, to state legislatures, bringing out voters in droves this cycle to elect gun sense champions. Here’s what we’re watching:
- Gun safety is a winning issue: Gun safety is an issue that persuades, mobilizes, and is a litmus test for voters. Exit poll data confirms what we saw in these races: the fundamental politics on guns has changed. Fifty-six percent of 2022 voters supported stricter gun safety measures and gun safety consistently ranked among the top concerns for voters. As NBC wrote, “It’s a far cry from a decade ago, when Democrats tended to fear single-issue pro-gun voters would overwhelm gun control proponents and punish them at the ballot box for pursuing tougher laws against firearms.”
- This phenomenon didn’t happen in a vacuum – next month, Moms Demand Action, the grassroots arm of Everytown for Gun Safety with nearly 10 million supporters, marks 10 years of advocacy and has clearly changed the political calculus on guns, making its ubiquitous red tees a staple on the campaign trail, turning out in droves to talk directly to voters and rally the vote for gun safety.
- Successful candidates flipped the script on crime and safety: Everytown charted the course for how gun sense candidates can not only play defense on crime, but use gun safety to turn the tables and go on offense. Everytown made the case that gun lobby candidates are a risk to our health and public safety — supporting abortion bans while opposing common-sense gun safety laws that put families and law enforcement at risk. Everytown ran ads in Pennsylvania supporting John Fetterman, in Michigan supporting Gretchen Whitmer, in Colorado supporting Michael Bennet, and in states across the country making these links and successfully charting the course for gun sense candidates on how to respond.
- Gun sense governors: Across the country, candidates who have been champions for gun safety rode to election and re-election in red states, blue states, and swing states alike. From Colorado to New York to New Mexico to Wisconsin and Michigan, incumbent governors ran on their gun safety records and were rewarded by voters for their leadership. And looking beyond incumbents, we won in states like Pennsylvania, Maryland, and Massachusetts, securing those Governors’ mansions with gun safety champions and ultimately paving new paths to strengthen gun laws.
- Moms Demand Action candidates flipped the Minnesota Senate: Everytown and Moms Demand Action serve as a boot camp for the next generation of leaders and have worked to build the bench of gun safety champions up and down the ballot, from school boards to state legislatures to Congress. In Minnesota, four Moms Demand Action volunteers were elected to the State Senate, flipping the chamber to provide a one-seat gun sense majority, and delivering a gun sense trifecta. While results are still pouring in, so far nearly 100 Moms Demand Action volunteers have won their general election.
- Down-ballot investments and wins: Everytown made a strategic decision to look down the ballot and focus on places where we could maximize the impact our volunteers and paid media had on the race. Everytown’s down-ballot investments helped oust 25-year incumbent Bristol County Sheriff Tom Hodgson in Massachusetts, elect John Allen as Bernalillo County Sheriff in New Mexico, and re-elect Richard Bernstein to the Michigan Supreme Court, preserving its gun sense majority. Everytown helped secure a gun safety trifecta in Michigan for the first time in nearly 40 years, and gun violence survivor and State Rep. Tom Sullivan was elected to the Colorado State Senate, preserving the chamber’s gun sense majority and the state’s gun safety trifecta. And in Oregon, where gun safety was literally on the ballot with Measure 114, Everytown’s investment and grassroots support helped pass the measure that will require a permit for all gun sales and prohibit sales of high capacity magazines in the state.
- Democracy was on the ballot and voters rejected extremism: This election, democracy was on the ballot and voters rejected the gun lobby’s extremism. In Michigan, voters re-elected Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson, after Everytown ran a significant paid media campaign. Pennsylvania voters also rejected dangerous extremists like Doug Mastriano, who recruited supporters from a website used by white supremacists. In Colorado, voters re-elected Secretary of State Jena Griswold, another Everytown-supported candidate, to highlight democracy’s strength.
- Colorado: In Colorado, gun safety won at every level of the ballot. At the top of the ticket, Senator Michael Bennet, a gun safety champion, won re-election after helping pass the first federal gun safety legislation in nearly 30 years. Governor Jared Polis was re-elected after signing historic gun safety legislation, and gun violence survivor Tom Sullivan was elected to the State Senate, defending the gun sense majority in the chamber. Even gun extremist Lauren Boebert currently trails her opponent in what many expected to be a safe re-election race.
We’ll carry the momentum from last night not only into a runoff in Georgia to re-elect Senator Warnock, but into tangible action in communities across the country to keep our families and communities safe.