Everytown for Gun Safety, the pro-gun control group founded by former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, is rolling out a $5 million digital ad campaign targeting 15 House races, as the group continues heavy investment in the midterm elections.
The group announced plans to target House districts embedded in suburban communities outside of cities like Atlanta, Kansas City, Miami and Minneapolis. The 15 districts are all featured on the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee’s “Red to Blue” target list, a program that denotes top-tier races.
The full list of targeted Republican incumbents includes Reps. Dana Rohrabacher of California, Mike Coffman of Colorado, Karen Handel of Georgia, Kevin Yoder of Kansas, Erik Philip Paulsen of Minnesota, Mike Bishop of Michigan, Tom MacArthur of New Jersey and Barbara Comstock of Virginia. The group is also going after seven open, Republican-controlled seats representing districts that include suburbs in metro areas from Seattle to New York City.
“Suburban swing districts are going to make this election, and gun safety resonates extremely high with suburban voters,” said John Feinblatt, president of Everytown for Gun Safety. “We’re trying to galvanize new, young and suburban voters in a way that they’ve never been engaged before and meeting them exactly where they are.”
The digital ads, part of the group’s “Not One More” campaign, feature news footage of the aftermath of mass shootings at schools. The footage shows children marching out of buildings in single-file lines with their hands in the air.
“If these lines infuriate you,” says yellow block lettering flashing across the ad, “get in this one,” showing voters lining up at a polling station.
Another digital ad says: “Not one more high school. Not one more church. Not one more concert, office, campus, newspaper, kindergarten class. Not one more,” the ad’s narrator says.
Everytown has already pledged to drop $10 million on four gubernatorial races: Georgia, Michigan, Nevada and New Mexico — all open races in which Democrats are looking to succeed two-term Republican governors. Feinblatt said the House and gubernatorial investments were “curtain-raisers” for potential future investments in more state and federal races in 2018.
Feinblatt pointed to the Virginia governor’s race, in which Democratic Gov. Ralph Northam beat Republican Ed Gillespie in November 2017, as early evidence that a gun safety message is effective, because “among voters who said they had a single animating issue, it was guns,” he said.
Several House Democratic candidates centered their own advertising messages on strengthening gun control laws. Outside Seattle, Democrat Kim Schrier, a pediatrician, said that when patients “[tell] me their son might be depressed, one of the first questions I ask is, ‘Is there a gun in the house?’” Schrier, who’s running against Republican Dino Rossi for an open battleground seat, promises in her TV ad to “fight the NRA.”
In the northern Virginia suburbs, Democrat Jennifer Wexton has touted her record as a state senator, saying in one TV ad that she backed “universal background checks for gun purchases.”