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After pouring millions into Virginia elections, gun control group sets sights on Texas
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After pouring millions into Virginia elections, gun control group sets sights on Texas

'I would say anyone running for office in Texas should look to Virginia'

A gun control group co-founded by 2020 presidential candidate and former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg has announced a multimillion-dollar effort to support anti-gun candidates in Texas.

In a news release issued on Wednesday, anti-gun organization Everytown for Gun Safety said that it planned to spend $8 million in an electoral effort focused on state legislature and congressional races as well as "educating the voting electorate in order to make Texas competitive at the statewide level."

According to a corresponding memo about its plans for the Lone Star State, the group plans to put resources into 27 different House district races either trying to oust "gun lobby-backed candidates" or re-elect pro-gun control candidates, with a big focus on the Dallas and Houston suburbs. The memo also claims that the state House is "just nine seats short" of a pro-gun control majority.

On the federal level, the memo also says that the group will put efforts into trying to flip control of seats currently held by GOP Reps. Michael McCaul, John Carter, Dan Crenshaw, and Chip Roy, as well as three House seats currently held by Republicans who are retiring. The group also plans to defend two Democratic seats held by Reps. Lizzie Fletcher and Collin Allred.

"Gun safety has become a top issue for voters — especially in the suburbs — as Texas becomes younger and more diverse, and after years of horrific gun violence and lawmakers who fail to address it," a statement from Shannon Watts, the founder of Moms Demand Action, which is a part of Everytown, says. "That's why we'll focus on electing gun sense candidates up and down the ballot in Texas, where a majority of households own guns, because polling proves gun owning and non-gun owning parents alike want their children to keep their kids safe."

The group also notes that the $8 million Texas spending spree will be just part of its overall $60 million investment in the 2020 election cycle.

This isn't Everytown's first attempt to flip control of a state legislature. The gun control group took a victory lap over the results of Virginia's statewide elections in November after spending over $2.5 million on those races and capitalizing on a shooting that took place in the state earlier that year. Those elections saw the control of the general shift from Republican to Democrat and paved the way for the current Democrat-let gun control efforts going on in Richmond.

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

While the group was co-founded by Bloomberg, Watts said on a Wednesday call that Everytown was "totally separate" from his 2020 presidential campaign, according to CNN.

"Mike and I founded Everytown together. He's a critical part of the movement," Watts said. "But as the movement has grown, so has our organization and our funding. Mike has consistently provided between a quarter and a third of our funding, depending on the cycle. In 2019, he provided about 25% of our contribution. But our grassroots engagement has grown in leaps and bounds."

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