November 1, 2018 — As part of a new $200,000 ad campaign highlighting the choice FL-25 voters have when it comes to protecting communities from gun violence, Giffords PAC, the gun safety organization founded by former Rep. Gabrielle Giffords and Capt. Mark Kelly, released a new ad detailing Congressman Mario Diaz Balart’s record of taking money from the National Rifle Association (NRA) while voting for weaker gun laws. The ad comes at a time where voters in states like Florida are increasingly asking what their elected officials are doing to keep guns out of dangerous hands.
Congressman Mario Diaz Balart is a proud recipient of numerous A ratings from the NRA over his political career. After the horrific school shooting in Parkland earlier this year, Diaz Balart refused to support critical commonsense gun safety laws to help prevent future senseless tragedies. The gun lobby has rewarded him for rubber stamping its dangerous agenda: he’s taken more money from the NRA than any other Florida Member of Congress, with the most recent check arriving in June, making him one of the first to take NRA money after Parkland.
Challenging Diaz Balart is Mary Barzee Flores, a candidate who understands what it will take to keep our communities safe. As a former judge, she is committed to fighting for proven solutions to the gun violence epidemic that has taken the lives of too many Floridians. The NRA and the gun lobby don’t intimidate Mary, and they can’t stop her from speaking out on gun violence. Giffords released a poll this year that found a 10 point shift in favor of Mary Barzee Flores when Floridians heard about Diaz Balart’s record of supporting the NRA.
This year alone, there have been more deaths from school shootings than
military service members killed abroad. Why? Because politicians aren’t
courageous enough to stand up to the corporate gun lobby’s bullying and
Politicians like Congressman Mario Diaz-Balart.
Here are three facts that you should know about Diaz-Balart.
Number one: he’s taken thousands of dollars from the NRA. More money
than any other Florida member of Congress. He even took their money
AFTER the Parkland school shooting. After seventeen children and their|
educators were gunned down.
Number two: Diaz-Balart gets an A rating from the NRA year after year.
And number three: Diaz-Balart voted to weaken our gun laws, not
strengthen them. Diaz-Balart even refuses to support common-sense
solutions like requiring background checks on all gun sales.
Nothing’s going to get done with Diaz Balart in the NRA’s pocket voting
against our safety.
The ad campaign focused on Florida’s twenty-fifth congressional district will run on broadcast radio through election day. The ad is part of a larger Giffords PAC program investment in ads to vote out gun lobby-backed politicians and bring gun safety champions to Congress. Reflecting the clear demand for action from Americans on the issue of gun violence, Giffords PAC has run ads in MN-02, CO-06, VA-10, TX-7 spending at least a million dollars in each of these races.
Gun safety continues to be a key issue for voters deciding who to elect this November. This year the issue has surged in campaign ads. Ads promoting stricter gun regulations have aired 102,636 times across the country this year—a 22-fold increase from four years ago, according to a Wall Street Journal analysis of Kantar Media/CMAG data. Recent research proves why we are seeing more ads – a poll in key battleground districts, shows that a Democrat’s lead in a generic ballot jumps 7 points, from 3 points to 10 when gun violence prevention is added.
Background on the Giffords 2018 Political Program
Giffords initially began our political program this year in the hours after the Parkland shooting, when Giffords used #VoteCourage to get people to pledge to support candidates in November who will stand up to the gun lobby and fight for safer communities. In less than a week, more than 450,000 Americans took the pledge.
Following the #VoteCourage pledge, Giffords officially kicked off its robust political program to shine a light on incumbents’ records of prioritizing the interests of the gun industry over public safety and encourage voters to support candidates with the courage to stand up to the gun lobby. Along with the digital advertisements and the website database, the program includes TV advertising, on-the-ground organizing and events, and a voter registration push.
In April, Giffords launched a partnership with NextGen America, Everytown for Gun Safety, and ACRONYM focused around a voter registration effort that is committing an initial $1.5 million to try to get up to 50,000 Americans aged 18–19 registered for the midterm elections.
Giffords also expanded its candidate training program to help educate candidates who want to run on a gun safety platform.
Giffords PAC has already launched three million dollar ad campaigns in districts critical to taking back the House of Representatives. The campaigns started with an investment of a $1 million in VA-10 to defeat Congresswoman Barbara Comstock, whose district is the backyard of the NRA headquarters. The first ad featured Gabby Giffords herself, directly taking on the NRA and Comstock. This week, Giffords PAC also went up with a $1.3 million ad campaign in the Minneapolis media market highlighting how Congressman Jason Lewis has consistently sided with the gun lobby over his constituents.
Finally, it launched a nearly $1.5 million ad campaign in Colorado underscoring the choice Colorado voters have before them this election when it comes to gun safety. In a new ad that debuted on Monday, the organization broadcast every American parents’ worst nightmare—losing a child—onto their TV screens, and reminded them that NRA-backed politicians like Congressman Mike Coffman haven’t done anything to prevent this nightmare from becoming reality.
The mass shooting in Parkland, Florida, crystallized the country’s frustration with the lack of action to pass gun safety laws. 2016 saw the highest gun death rate since 1997. Currently, the country is averaging nearly 34,000 deaths from guns every year, and recent polling shows that support for stronger gun laws is at an all-time high.
Last November saw gun safety champions win decisively across the country – from statewide races in Virginia and New Jersey to a key state senate seat in Washington State. The elections sparked what has become known as the suburban rebellion in the districts that will determine who will have control of Congress next year.
A recent public opinion survey released by Giffords also shows that gun safety is a winning issue in districts key to determining control of the House of Representatives. The poll looked into 38 battleground districts that are largely Republican-held. The results proved that embracing gun safety could make the difference for Democrats in key swing districts, particularly because support for stronger gun laws remains high and the NRA’s favorability is on a downward trend.
Giffords PAC works to reduce gun violence and save lives by empowering voters with information and supporting candidates who will fight for safer gun laws.