MINNEAPOLIS – Everytown for Gun Safety Action Fund and the Minnesota chapter of Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America today applauded Everytown endorsed candidate Tim Walz, who beat NRA A-rated Jeff Johnson in governor’s race. Across the state, gun safety candidates won their races, including Dean Phillips, who beat Rep. Erik Paulsen in Minnesota’s 3rd Congressional District. Everytown-endorsed state House candidates also proved pivotal in flipping the Minnesota statehouse to a gun sense majority. This marked a huge defeat for the gun lobby, which endorsed both Johnson for governor and Paulsen for Congress. Everytown also supported Heather Edelson, a Moms Demand Action volunteer who won her campaign for Minnesota House District 49A.
Moms Demand Action volunteers and gun violence survivors knocked doors and phonebanked for gun sense candidates like Angie Craig, who ran in Minnesota’s 2nd Congressional District, and Phillips, while Everytown for Gun Safety Action Fund spent more than $470,000 to support Walz and $330,000 to support state House candidates. In addition, Everytown spent more than $130,000 to support the winning candidacy of Phillips in Minnesota’s 3rd Congressional District through its “Not One More” voter mobilization campaign aimed at youth, women and communities of color in 16 key congressional districts.
“Minnesota voters just sent an urgent message to their leaders: It’s time to reject the NRA’s toxic agenda and take action on gun safety,” said John Feinblatt, president of Everytown for Gun Safety. “With the election of Tim Walz and a gun safety majority in the statehouse, Minnesota took a big step towards enacting lifesaving gun violence prevention legislation.”
“Minnesota Moms Demand Action volunteers are thrilled gun sense champions including Tim Walz won this election,” said Erin Zamoff, volunteer leader with the Minnesota chapter of Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America. “We knew this was a critical year for gun safety in our state and candidates who support gun safety legislation prevailed. Over the past few months, we’ve called, knocked on doors, talked to neighbors, friends and family – all to get out the vote in support of gun sense candidates from all over Minnesota. Now that we’ve regained the statehouse, it’s time the legislature moves forward on creating an Extreme Risk Protection Order and requiring background checks on all Minnesota gun sales. The safety of our families and communities depends on it.”
“Tim Walz is the leader Minnesotans deserve,” said Bob Mokos, a gun owner and member of the Everytown Survivor Network whose sister was shot and killed in Chicago in 1986. “This election marks a new step in protecting the lives of all Minnesotans. Those elected into office tonight will have the opportunity to pass laws that could saves lives and prevent other families from experiencing the pain I know all too well having my sister taken by gun violence. I couldn’t be happier.”
Walz’s win is proof that advocating for gun safety is both the right thing to do, and a winning strategy. Walz, a military veteran who has represented Minnesota’s 1st Congressional District since 2007, previously received A ratings from the NRA in the 2010, 2012, 2014 and 2016 general elections, but he received an NRA F rating in this race. After the mass shooting last year in Las Vegas, Walz donated past NRA campaign contributions to a veterans organization. Walz affirmed his support for legislation to require background checks on unlicensed gun sales and opposed concealed carry reciprocity legislation while in Congress. He also made common-sense gun safety a cornerstone of his campaign for governor.
Everytown’s electoral spending followed a year in which it was clear that the politics of gun safety have shifted in the North Star State. During the 2018 legislative session, Minnesota lawmakers from both parties pushed to strengthen the state’s gun laws in two important ways – requiring background checks on all Minnesota gun sales and creating an Extreme Risk Protection Order. There was broad support for these proposals, including from long-time allies Minnesota law enforcement, students, Republican members of the legislature, and the hundreds of people who rallied at the state Capitol in support of the proposals. Although a handful of lawmakers eventually blocked these proposals, their widespread, bipartisan support reflected the continued growth of the state’s gun violence prevention movement.