Bloomberg-backed gun group sets its sights on Texas primary


Everytown for Gun Safety, a Mike Bloomberg-backed gun-grabbing group, is going all-in in Texas in time for the upcoming Super Tuesday primary. The group is modeling its efforts after the one they made in Virginia. Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America, an affiliate activist group, is joining in and calls Texas “the big target”.

Everytown for Gun Safety takes credit for helping flip the Virginia legislature into the hands of Democrats last year. Hoping to make inroads in Texas, the group is pledging to spend three times what it did in Virginia – at least $8 million. How did that battle in Virginia work out? Gun sales increased and then the assault weapon ban vote failed.

There is no reason to think that gun-grabbers will be any more successful in Texas than they were in Virginia, though. I’d bet on the effort failing more than in Virginia, as a matter of fact. Because, c’mon, it’s Texas.

Everytown for Gun Safety, a Michael Bloomberg-backed group that pushes for expanded background checks, red flag laws and other measures, is plotting what its political director calls an “unprecedented financial and grassroots effort” to flip the Texas House, defend vulnerable freshmen Democrats in Congress and help Democrats take congressional seats in the suburbs. A memo detailing the plan, the group’s biggest state investment to date, was shared exclusively with Hearst Newspapers.

“We believe that Texas, as it becomes younger and increasingly diverse, can be the next emerging battleground state with gun safety as the tipping point,” Chris Carr, the group’s political director wrote in the memo. “We believe there are opportunities to elect gun sense candidates up and down the ballot, from the statehouse to the U.S. Congress — and potentially even statewide.”

The organization is betting on the trend of a younger, more diverse voting population will help first with flipping seats “from the statehouse to the U.S. Congress”, relying heavily on suburban voters. The broader national strategy is to spend twice what it spent in the 2018 elections, at least $60 million. Apparently it is wrong for pro-Second Amendment groups, like the NRA, to spend big bucks to influence voters but not wrong for anti-Second Amendment groups like Everytown (Bloomberg) to lobby for the reverse. We see you, Everytown. Moms Demand Action is providing an army of volunteers for the effort.

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“Texas is definitely the big target,” said Shannon Watts, founder of Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America, a group of activists affiliated with Everytown. The group has 400,000 volunteers on the ground in Texas already, Watts said.

The groups point to polling that shows that 79% of likely Texas voters are in support of background checks and 80% are in favor of red flag laws, which matches up with a UT/Texas Tribune poll released this week that shows 79% support background checks for all gun purchases.

Pro-Second Amendment supporters are mobilizing, too. The Texas State Rifle Association sent an email to its members this month to warn of Everytown’s moves.

“Though gun control advocates and gun-grabbing politicians failed to lay down a marker in this particular contest, the amount of resources they invested in this race demonstrates their commitment to turn Texas ‘blue’ and make the Lone Star State their next target after Virginia for passing radical restrictions on our rights,” the email said.

While Shannon Watts uses hyperbole in comparing Texas to Virginia, she should know that Texas is not like most other states. There are plenty of Democrats in elected office who are strong supporters of the Second Amendment and are gun owners themselves. This is not as partisan issue as it is in other states.

“I would say anyone running for office in Texas should look to Virginia,” Watts said. “Six months after a shooting in Virginia Beach, all of the elected officials who refused gun sense were voted out of office.”

Everytown is supporting freshmen Democrats like my own congresswoman – Rep. Lizzie Fletcher, who is vulnerable. The district was a strongly red district – the reddest in Houston – and fell into Democrat hands for the first time in 2018 when she was elected. She is facing a tough battle to retain her seat. I’m counting on my district moving back into the red column in November.

Everytown is also planning to go on the offensive against Republican U.S. Reps. Dan Crenshaw, Michael McCaul, Chip Roy and John Carter, and it’s planning to spend big in districts left open by retiring Republicans, including U.S. Rep. Will Hurd.

As is said in Texas, come and take it.

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