One of the nation's leading gun-control advocacy groups announced plans on Friday to spend upwards of $1 million in the upcoming Virginia gubernatorial and attorney general races even though a similar spending effort failed to flip control of the state senate in 2015.
The Everytown for Gun Safety Action Fund, a New York-based gun-control group founded in large part by Michael Bloomberg, is donating $450,000 to Democrat Ralph Northam in his race against Republican Ed Gillespie. They're spending another $250,000 on mailers supporting Northam. The gun-control group is putting another $300,000 into Democrat Attorney General Mark Herring's reelection bid.
Northam and Herring contrast with their Republican opponents on gun policy. Northam supports an assault weapons ban, magazine size limits, universal background checks, and a return to the one-gun-a-month rule—all distinctions from Gillespie. Herring also supports universal background checks and the one-gun-a-month rule, and his campaign website touts his record as one of standing up to the "gun lobby and a legislature that is beholden to it." Herring's opponent, Republican John Adams, has promised to "vigorously defend the Second Amendment."
We are making this initial investment because Ralph Northam and Mark Herring have been forceful champions for gun violence prevention in Virginia, while their opponents subscribe to a dangerous ‘guns everywhere’ agenda," Brynne Craig, a senior strategist for Everytown, told the Washington Post.
Northam, Herring, and current Democratic Gov. Terry McAuliffe were all involved in attempts by the executive branch to circumvent Virginia's legislative branch and implement new gun-control measures in the wake of the state's 2015 election. In October 2015, Gov. McAuliffe, with Lt. Gov. Northam's support, issued an executive order banning guns from all state buildings. In December 2015, Attorney General Herring announced his plan to unilaterally eliminate most of the state's gun-carry reciprocity deals with other states.