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Release: Americans for Responsible Solutions PAC Celebrates McAuliffe, Northam Victories in Virginia

 ARS PAC’s $600,000 program highlighting responsible gun ownership proved influential among independent, targeted voters 

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Americans for Responsible Solutions PAC – founded by former Congresswoman Gabby Giffords and retired combat veteran and astronaut Capt. Mark Kelly – released a statement tonight after races were called in Virginia in favor of pro-gun responsibility candidates. ARS PAC demonstrated through a deliberate and targeted program that highlighting gun violence prevention as an issue by candidates can be effective and key to winning among independent voters. Click to view ARS PAC’s electoral memo on Virginia: 

“This is a great night for Virginians. Gabby and I send our congratulations to Governor-Elect Terry McAuliffe and Lt. Governor-Elect Ralph Northam, who were willing to stand up and challenge the conventional thinking on gun issues,” said Captain Mark Kelly, co-founder of Americans for Responsible Solutions PAC. “We join millions of Americans in believing that our elected leaders can both support and protect the 2nd amendment and be strong advocates for reducing gun violence. Virginia made great strides in that effort today and we look forward to many more victories for commonsense solutions next year.”

“The extraordinary thing we were able to do in Virginia – in the backyard of the gun lobby – was to hold candidates accountable directly on their positions of gun violence prevention rather than broader campaign themes in the race,” said Pia Carusone, executive director, Americans for Responsible Solutions PAC. “This was a multipronged program where we were able to predict and validate a voter’s support on gun issues and the voters’ movement toward our candidates.”

Key Takeaways:

  • Governor-Elect McAuliffe and Lt. Governor-Elect Northam showed you can run and win on a message of responsible gun ownership, even in a purple state with a history of supporting gun rights;
  • Candidates can run effective campaigns and should adopt gun violence prevention positions and messages to reach and sway “the deciders,” eg: independent women and other key voting demographics;
  • Messaging on responsible gun ownership is a critical turn-out tool for a targeted set of drop-off voters;
  • Opposition to popular and effective policies like expanded background checks allows ARS and other groups to brand candidates as extreme;

ARS PAC’s $600,000 Virginia Electoral Program Highlights:

  • Targeted mail program to 144,479 registered voters and 66,370 households;
  • Launched the website to give Virginia voters the facts;
  • Telephone Town Hall with Capt. Mark Kelly and 7,000 likely voters;
  • Recorded call from Capt. Mark Kelly to 66,370 households inviting them to learn more about the gubernatorial candidates;
  • Targeted online advertising to 189,000 registered voters urging them to “Get Out The Vote” on Election Day;
  • Targeted online persuasion media to 144,479 registered voters and 66,370 households;

ARS PAC’s multifaceted program that included 15-pieces of targeted direct mail, targeted online advertising, and a tele-townhall constituted a strong investment opposing Ken Cucinelli, anti-responsibility candidate for Governor, and E.W. Jackson, anti-responsibility candidate for Lieutenant Governor.

A survey released this week by Public Policy Polling of 870 likely Virginia voters from November 2-3 found that messaging on gun violence prevention issues was helpful in the race for McAuliffe. “Asked how Cuccinelli’s opposition to expanded background checks factors into their vote, 47 percent said that position makes them less likely to vote for him, as opposed to 18 percent who said it made them more likely to do so,” reported Politico. [ ] “When asked whether they had seen or received any advertising on the gun issue, just under half of all those surveyed — 47 percent — said they had, compared with 40 percent who hadn’t.”

 Americans for Responsible Solutions is working across the country to build an organization with millions of people committed to finding sensible ways to reduce gun violence and encouraging elected officials to enact responsible firearms policies that protect the Second Amendment. Today, ARS stands more than 500,000 strong. 

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