RICHMOND, Va. – The Everytown for Gun Safety Action Fund and Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America, part of Everytown, today declared a clean sweep for gun safety in the 2017 elections as gun-sense candidates Ralph Northam and Phil Murphy won gubernatorial elections in Virginia and New Jersey just two days after the latest mass shooting to shake the nation. The victories show that one thing is clear heading into the 2018 midterm elections: Momentum is on the side of the gun violence prevention movement.
Gun violence prevention played a prominent role in the Virginia election, where the gubernatorial candidates spoke frequently about their stances on gun safety in debates and forums. They responded to high-profile shootings and incidents including the demonstrations by armed white nationalists in Charlottesville, the shooting at a Congressional baseball practice in Alexandria and the mass shooting in Las Vegas.
“Make no mistake: Gun violence prevention was on the ballot today and, despite the NRA spending millions, voters in Virginia and New Jersey rejected the gun lobby’s agenda and voted for gun safety,” said John Feinblatt, president of Everytown for Gun Safety. “Heading into 2018, gun safety will be a defining issue of the midterm elections. We are putting candidates on notice: We will tell voters who stands with the American public and who sides with the gun lobby next year through our newly created federal PAC, endorsements and independent expenditures.”
In Virginia, the Everytown for Gun Safety Action Fund and Moms Demand Action endorsed gubernatorial candidate Ralph Northam, who ran on gun safety and won, even in the NRA’s backyard. Additionally, Everytown was among Northam’s largest donors, contributing more than $1.3 million to his effort. And, volunteers with the Virginia chapter of Moms Demand Action worked tirelessly to get out the vote, attending more than 100 election-related events, knocking on doors and calling neighbors and friends about the importance of electing Northam, who supports common-sense gun violence prevention policies. He persevered in spite of the NRA spending an estimated $1 million against him.
And, in New Jersey, the Everytown for Gun Safety Action Fund and Moms Demand Action endorsed gubernatorial candidate Murphy and lieutenant governor candidate Sheila Oliver, who ran on gun safety and won. And, volunteers with the New Jersey chapter of Moms Demand Action worked overtime to elect them.
“Tonight, Americans took action after two back-to-back gun violence tragedies by electing candidates who made common-sense gun safety a priority in their policy platforms,” said Shannon Watts, founder of Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America. “In Virginia and New Jersey, candidates ran and won on the issue of gun violence prevention, and thousands of volunteers with Moms Demand Action supported them every step of the way. Throughout the 2018 elections, we’ll keep standing up for candidates who stand with us, and we will defeat lawmakers whose inaction on gun violence is contributing to our gun violence crisis. While Congress continues to sit on its hands, Americans are sending a signal by voting against politicians who prioritize gun lobby profits over people.”
Just weeks ago, the shooting in Las Vegas – the deadliest in modern American history – elevated gun violence prevention in the race. In the wake of the tragedy, polls clearly showed that people were more inclined to vote for candidates with strong gun violence prevention records. As we turn our attention to 2018, Everytown and Moms Demand Action are ready to once again harness that energy and translate it into electoral wins.
“It’s been nearly four years since my sister-in-law, Ruthanne, was shot and killed by a stranger who knocked on her door in Alexandria, Virginia,” said Dawnee Giammittorio, member of the Everytown Survivor Network, who volunteered in Virginia. “Ruthanne shared her love of music with children in the community for over four decades, and was a loving mother to my three nieces. It is in her memory that I gave my time working to elect a set of leaders who will fight to make our communities safer.”