RICHMOND, Va. – Everytown for Gun Safety Action Fund and the Virginia chapter of Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America, part of Everytown, today declared victory in Virginia, where gun-sense champions won up and down the ballot. Everytown for Gun Safety Action Fund and Moms Demand Action endorsed gubernatorial candidate Ralph Northam, lieutenant governor candidate Justin Fairfax, Attorney General Mark Herring and Delegate candidates Chris Hurst and John Bell, all of whom ran on gun safety and won, even in the NRA’s backyard. 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 and attorney general 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. And Delegate candidate Chris Hurst was moved to leave broadcasting and pursue elected office after his girlfriend, Alison Parker, and her cameraman, Adam Ward, were shot and killed on live television in 2015.
This year, Evertown contributed more than $2.2 million to Northam, Fairfax, Herring, Hurst and Bell. and was among the top donors to Northam, Fairfax and Herring. And, volunteers with the Virginia chapter of Moms Demand Action worked tirelessly to elect them, attending more than 100 election-related events. Moms Demand Action members spent countless hours knocking on doors and calling neighbors and friends about the importance of electing these candidates, all of whom support common-sense gun violence prevention policies. They persevered in spite of the NRA spending more than $2 million on these races.
“Make no mistake: Gun violence prevention was on the ballot today and, despite the NRA spending $2 million to influence the election, voters in Virginia 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.”
“Virginia voters have made it clear that in the Commonwealth, we rally behind candidates who support common-sense gun safety polices,” said Jennifer Herrera, volunteer chapter leader with the Virginia chapter of Moms Demand Action. “Our volunteers poured their hearts into electing Ralph Northam, Justin Fairfax, Mark Herring, Chris Hurst, John Bell and others because we know that they are dedicated to preventing gun violence.”
Six 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 to elect these candidates. “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.”