Update: Everytown for Gun Safety Action Fund names NH Democrat among 58 endorsed candidates
Several hours after New Hampshire Primary Source reported early Thursday that the gun violence prevention groups Brady and BradyPAC have endorsed U.S. Rep. Chris Pappas for reelection, a third major group focused on the issue backed the first-term Democrat.
The Everytown for Gun Safety Action Fund rolled out 58 U.S. House endorsements, as first reported by The Hill.
Pappas was among them.
Everytown says that along with its grassroots networks, Moms Demand Action and Students Demand Action, it is “the largest gun violence prevention organization in the country with nearly 6 million supporters.”
“When you’re in a crisis — whether it’s gun violence or the pandemic — you want leaders who take the safety of their constituents seriously,” said Shannon Watts, founder of Moms Demand Action. “Congressman Pappas has demonstrated strong leadership in working to keep our communities safe by expanding and strengthening background checks. We need more leaders like Chris who will support common-sense gun safety laws and a willingness to fight for our families.”
Pappas said he was proud of the endorsements by Everytown/Moms Demand Action and the Brady organizations (see our earlier report below).
“Our communities, parents and students know we cannot accept gun violence as normal, and it is well past time we act to make meaningful progress to protect lives,” Pappas said. “I look forward to continuing our bipartisan work to protect our communities from gun violence. We simply cannot stop until these common sense measures, like strengthening and enhancing background checks, become law.”
Everytown, like Brady and BradyPAC, cited Pappas’ support for legislation tightening background checks.
Everytown’s senior political adviser, Charlie Kelly, told The Hill that the group’s priority is to defend incumbents facing contested races in an effort to keep intact a House majority that supports more gun safety laws. He said the group’s $60 million program for the 2020 cycle also includes going on the offensive in Republican states.
The group was formed in 2013 when Mayors Against Illegal Guns and Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America joined forces. Everytown for Gun Safety has been significantly funded by former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, who briefly ran for president earlier this year.
KEY GUN SAFETY GROUP ENDORSEMENT. BradyPAC, known as the sister organization to the anti-gun violence advocacy group Brady, is putting its significant influence and resources behind Democratic U.S. Rep. Chris Pappas in New Hampshire’s 1st Congressional District.
Brady and Brady PAC are announcing their support for the first-term Democrat as part of a slate of “frontline” endorsements.
PAC Executive Director Brian Lemek in an interview cited Pappas’ cosponsorship of several background check bills and called him a “champion for our cause and our issue.”
The advocacy group Brady-United Against Gun Violence has been in existence since the 1970s, originally as the National Council to Control Handguns. After former Reagan administration communications director Jim Brady was shot and partially paralyzed in an assassination attempt on President Ronald Reagan in 1981, the group was merged with the Center to Prevent Handgun Violence, chaired by Brady’s wife, Sarah Brady.
The group was eventually successful in passing the Brady Bill, which enacted background checks on individuals before firearms may be purchased by a federally licensed dealers. In 2000, the groups were jointly renamed the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence and the Brady Center to Prevent Gun Violence.
BradyPAC was formed ahead of the 2018 midterm election “to serve as a counterweight to ‘dark money’ super PACs created by the gun industry lobby,” according to the PAC’s website.
It spent nearly $500,000 in the 2018 election, including $100,000 on House members or candidates, according to the nonpartisan Center for Responsive Politics’ OpenSecrets.org.
In the 2020 cycle, BradyPAC spent nearly $1.7 million through April 30, according to OpenSecrets.org. That included $334,200 on House members or candidates and $51,500 on senators or Senate candidates.
The PAC said it has budgeted $5 million for the 2020 cycle.
Pappas is among seven incumbents being endorsed Thursday in BradyPAC’s its final slate of “frontline” endorsements, bringing the total number of endorsed House members or candidates to 46. It has also endorsed seven Senate candidates and former Vice President Joe Biden for president.
Lemek said the PAC is a “nonconnected” entity, not directly affiliated with the Brady advocacy group, and has a separate board. But the two groups view themselves as linked through their respective roles on the same issue.
“This is a tough race,” Lemek said, noting that no representative has won consecutive elections in the state’s 1st Congressional District since Carol Shea-Porter was elected in 2006 and reelected in 2008.
Lemek said Pappas earned the endorsement by cosponsoring several background checks bills and HR 1236, which would allow law enforcement officials to remove guns from an individual determined by a judge to be a threat to themselves or others – known as the Extreme Risk Protection Order Act.
“Since coming to Congress, Rep. Pappas has been a champion of our cause and our issue,” Lemek said. “He’s been incredible to work with.”
Lemek said the PAC will make maximum allowable contributions to Pappas of $5,000 for the primary and $5,000 for the general election and will direct its grassroots donor network to Pappas.
If the race is close, Lemek said, the PAC, as a hybrid “Carey Committee” organization, will be able to make unlimited independent expenditures.
Pappas said he was proud to receive the endorsement.
“We cannot accept as normal the loss of life from gun violence and impact it has on our daily lives,” he said. “Parents, educators, students, and gun owners regularly tell me that common sense reforms are long overdue.
“The legislation we have passed in the House, including strengthening and enhancing background checks, will save lives and prevent future tragedies. We are not powerless in the fight against gun violence and must keep working in a bipartisan way to ensure these common sense measures become law.”
Kris Brown, president of the Brady advocacy group, added, “(Pappas) knows that upholding the 2nd Amendment and working to support gun violence prevention are not at odds with each other, and he has worked with his colleagues on both sides of the aisle to achieve this goal.
“Rep. Pappas has shown that he is unafraid to champion these causes and to keep his community safe.”
Republicans Matt Mowers and Matt Mayberry are competing in a primary to take on Pappas in the general election.
Lemek said BradyPAC views Mowers as the more likely nominee and believes he is the favorite of the National Republican Congressional Committee, in addition to being a former Trump campaign and administration official.
In addition to Pappas, BradyPAC on Thursday is also endorsing Reps. T.J. Cox of California, Abby Finkenauer of Iowa, Sean Casten of Illinois, Haley Stevens of Michigan, Angie Craig of Minnesota, Antonio Delgado of New York and Matt Cartwright of Pennsylvania.