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Victory for Gun Safety in Virginia: 15 Everytown Endorsed Candidates Elected


Everytown for Gun Safety Action Fund Was Largest Outside Investor in Virginia’s 2019 Elections, Spending $2.5 Million to Help Replace NRA-Backed Candidates With Gun Sense Champions in NRA’s Home State 

After Virginia Republicans Failed to Act on Gun Safety Following the Deadly Virginia Beach Shooting in May 2019, Virginia Moms Demand Action Activated its Volunteers to Hold Lawmakers Accountable

RICHMOND, Va.  — Everytown for Gun Safety and the Virginia chapter of Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America, a part of Everytown, today celebrated the victory of 15 endorsed candidates in Virginia. The candidates were running in key districts against gun lobby-backed candidates in the NRA’s home state.

Everytown for Gun Safety Action Fund and Everytown for Gun Safety Victory Fund spent $2.5 million in Virginia’s 2019 elections, spending across 22 of the most competitive Senate and House districts in Virginia. Everytown’s spending included direct contributions, targeted digital and direct mail communications and support for television ads advocating for gun safety. It also included polling and voter research to inform campaign strategies.  

The following Everytown-endorsed candidates won their races (another three races remain too close to call):

  • Wendy Gooditis, House District 10
  • Danica Roem, House District 13
  • Kelly Fowler, House District 21
  • Joshua Cole, House District 28
  • Elizabeth Guzman, House District 31
  • Dan Helmer, House District 40
  • Hala Ayala, House District 51
  • Clint Jenkins, House District 76
  • Rodney Willett, House District 73
  • Alex Askew, House District 85
  • Martha Mugler, House District 91
  • Shelly Simonds, House District 94
  • Ghazala Hashmi, Senate District 10
  • John Bell, Senate District 13

Laura Jane Cohen, a Moms Demand Action volunteer and Everytown-endorsed candidate, also won her race for Fairfax County School Board Springfield District.

“Everytown is proud to support these gun safety champions, who were elected with a clear mandate: Stand up to the gun lobby and strengthen laws to keep Virginians safe,” said John Feinblatt, president of Everytown for Gun Safety

“It was not long ago that candidates ran from the issue of gun safety. Now, they’re running – and winning – by talking about stronger gun laws, even in the NRA’s home state,” said Shannon Watts, founder of Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America. “These soon-to-be lawmakers are the voices we need in the Commonwealth, and in 2020, we’ll add many more names to the list of elected leaders who will fight to keep our families safe.”

“Moms Demand Action volunteers worked night and day to help elect these candidates,” said Jennifer Herrera, a volunteer with the Virginia chapter of Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America. “We’re thrilled these lawmakers will advocate for gun safety and fight to keep our families and communities safe.”

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 candidates’ opposition to gun safety
  • $620,000 in direct mail highlighting Virginia Republican candidates’ opposition to gun safety
  • $330,000 to support candidate TV ads advocating for gun safety, including: $75,000 to John Bell’s campaign in Virginia’s 13th Senate District
  • $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 

Since Virginia’s 2017 elections, the Moms Demand Action chapter in the Commonwealth quadrupled in size. Leading up to the election, Moms Demand Action volunteers spent months talking to voters, knocking on tens of thousands of doors and making more than 100,000 phone calls.