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Giffords Invests Big to Secure a Majority in Texas State House

Giffords supports the Texas House Democratic Committee with $300,000 while investing another $100,00 in candidates and efforts to turn out voters while proving gun safety is a winning issue in the Lonestar State 

Washington, DCGiffords PAC, the gun violence prevention organization founded by former Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords, has invested $300,000 to support the Texas House Democratic Committee’s effort to flip control of the chamber and achieve a gun safety majority. The initiative comes on top of another $100,000 to support candidates up and down the ballot, boost efforts to turn out voters, and fund polling with Latino Victory Project showing Latinx voters care about gun violence.  

“Despite the horrific mass shootings in El Paso and Midland-Odessa in 2019, the Texas legislature offered only thoughts and prayers, with zero action” said Peter Ambler, Giffords Executive Director. “Rather than prioritizing the safety of communities, Republicans in Texas have cowered at the feet of the gun lobby. Texas voters are ready for change. Giffords is proud to support gun safety champions up and down the ballot who have the courage to act.”

Texas currently earns an “F” on the Giffords Law Center Annual Gun Law Scorecard because of its failure to enact commonsense solutions such as requiring background checks on all gun sales, enacting an extreme risk protection order law, and strengthening laws that restrict access to firearms by domestic abusers.

After decisive wins in the Virginia State Legislative races a year ago, Giffords PAC turned its attention to states, including Texas, long seen as off-limits for gun safety. Now, thanks to changing demographics and long-term attitudinal shifts, candidates up and down the ballot are running and winning on promises to take action on gun safety. Especially in the vote-rich suburbs of Houston and Dallas, democratic state house candidates recognize that gun safety has become a key issue for swing voters. 

Examples of how house candidates are embracing gun safety can be seen here and here. One mailer, paid for by the Dallas County Democratic Party, attacks Republican incumbent Morgan Meyers for his unpopular, extreme stances on guns in schools and on college campuses. In contrast the other mailer, from Democractic incumbent Ana-Maria Ramos, promises to protect families by supporting universal background checks, banning high capacity magazines, and keeping guns out of the hands of domestic abusers. 

While focusing on breakthroughs in the state house, Giffords PAC also made backing MJ Hegar for Senate a priority, endorsing her ahead of the Democratic Senate primary. The group held a number of events for Hegar, including a discussion as part of the Senate Road to Background Checks Tour where she explained how she’d fight to protect Texans from gun violence in the Senate. Additional investments went to Workers Alliance and Corazón de la Frontera PAC for Get Out the Vote efforts geared toward turning out voters in communities of color. 

The effort in the Senate race builds on a successful campaign in 2018 by Giffords PAC to support gun safety champions running for Congress. In one of the defining campaigns of the cycle for Giffords PAC, they spent $1.1 million on a campaign against then-Congressman John Culberson. The ads showed Culberson siding with the NRA while Houston kids suffer through lockdowns and active shooter drills. 

Giffords releasedPublic Policy Polling showing nearly 8 in 10 Texas voters support universal background checks. Over 60% of voters said that a candidate’s support for universal background checks laws made it more likely that they would vote for that candidate. Only 8% of those polled said they would more likely vote for the candidate who opposed background checks.  

Together with Latino Victory Project, Giffords also released new polling showing that 3 out of 4 Latinos in Texas support strong gun safety legislation. Giffords and Latino Victory Project also teamed up last year for a bus tour, ¡YA BASTA! Latinos Rise Against Gun Violence and Hate, beginning in El Paso and stopping in Dallas, Houston, and San Antonio.

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