Everytown for Gun Safety, the gun-control group co-founded by former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg, plans to spend at least $2 million over the next month helping the Democratic candidates seeking Florida Cabinet positions — and Republicans running for the state Senate.
The non-partisan organization announced its intentions Monday, saying its efforts will include direct contributions to gubernatorial candidate Andrew Gillum, attorney general nominee Sean Shaw and agricultural commissioner hopeful Nikki Fried. Everytown, which also announced its endorsement of U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson, plans to back independent mail and digital ad campaigns in the state's midterm contests, as well.
Everytown told the Miami Herald that it supported candidates who "are running on platforms that include strengthening gun safety laws in the Sunshine State, while their opponents are beholden to the gun lobby's extreme 'guns everywhere' agenda." The organization noted that GOP nominees Ron DeSantis (A), Ashley Moody (A) and Matt Caldwell (A+) received high grades from the National Rifle Association.
"People have told me you can't beat the NRA. Well, that may have been true at one time. But it's certainly not true today," Bloomberg said Sunday during an appearance in Pembroke Pines with Gillum. "There's never been more energy behind our movement than there is right now today, and the students and families in Parkland are a big reason why."
Everytown has already spent some of the money, which is coming out of its political action fund. It gave $250,000 late last month to Gillum's political committee, and another $25,000 to Fried that hasn't been posted publicly yet. The group also quietly gave $200,000 last month to the leadership political committee run by incoming Senate president Bill Galvano, who is running point on the Republican Party's upper chamber campaigns.
The donation to Galvano rankled people on both the left and right in Florida politics. But Everytown explained that Galvano played an integral role in shepherding the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School Public Safety Act through the legislature this year following the Feb. 14 shooting at the school.
"Everytown stands with elected leaders who are on the right side of our issue, regardless of party," spokeswoman Phoebe Kilgour said.