Why is Everytown Spending Big in Virginia School Board Race?

(Erica Yoon/The Roanoke Times via AP)

The gun control lobby showers anti-gun candidates with campaign cash on a regular basis, but those funds are usually directed at federal and state offices. Every now and then you might see gun control groups get involved in a mayoral race or a city council election, but that’s not nearly as common.


In Virginia, however, Michael Bloomberg’s Everytown for Gun Safety is dropping a cool quarter-million on a school board race in Loudon County according to Crisis in the Classroom.

All nine seats on the Loudoun County Public Schools (LCPS) school board are up for grabs Tuesday. An analysis of all 18 candidates’ campaign finance filings conducted by Crisis in the Classroom (CITC) determined that the two candidates who have received the most contributions can thank a prominent out-of-state lobbying group.

Anne Donohue, running for LCPS’s open at-large seat, and Erika Ogedegbe, looking to continue representing Leesburg, have both received donations from the Everytown for Gun Safety Action Fund. The New York City-based group, which advocates for gun control measures, was founded by and continues to receive the majority of its funding from Bloomberg.

Donohue has received $19,982.12 in campaign contributions from the Everytown for Gun Safety Action Fund since March. The majority of the sum stems from a singular October contribution of $19,217.41.

The Everytown for Gun Safety Action Fund is Donohue’s second-highest campaign contributor this election cycle, accounting for more than a quarter of her overall balance of $73,840.83.


The exurb of Washington, D.C. has been trending blue in recent elections, but with a scandal over a sexual assault in a Loudon County school and a growing number of student overdoses on campus emerging as top issues, the outcome of this year’s elections could very well see a Republican majority emerge to take charge of the school board.

Everytown has been straying from talking about gun control in its campaign messaging in Virginia, with several of its ads in support of state legislative candidates focusing as much on abortion as gun control. In Loudon County, however, it looks like the anti-gun candidates are running on a “school safety” platform.

In a statement to CITC Tuesday, Donohue said she understands “just how critical school safety is.”

“I’m the only candidate in my race that has prioritized student safety and mental health, and I’m the only candidate who has spoken openly about the need to prevent gun violence in our schools,” Donohue told CITC. “That’s why Everytown is supporting my campaign, and it’s why nearly every parent I speak with mentions safety as their primary issue. Because we all agree that we must take decisive action to keep our students safe.”

Donohue, a self-proclaimed “public safety advocate,” has received criticism from LCPS candidates running on platforms of parental rights. She recently shared flyers for an event calling parental rights advocates “extremists” and was invited to speak at the event, according to reporting from CITC affiliate 7News DC.


So what “decisive action” to keep students safe is Donohue talking about? Oddly, any specific policy proposals are completely absent from her campaign website, which tells me that she either doesn’t have a particular policy in mind or doesn’t want the voters to know her plans.

There’s not a lot that a school board can do to infringe on our Second Amendment rights, but it can definitely help shape the curriculum that students are exposed to. Putting committed gun control activists on a school board is a good way to help indoctrinate the next generation into viewing the Second Amendment as a historical anachronism or cultural harm that should be ignored or eradicated, and I suspect that’s a big part of why Everytown is spending so much money on a local school board race. The group may also have pegged Donohue and Ogedegbe as candidates with a bright political future, and they’re helping them out now in order to raise their political profile going forward. Today’s school board candidate could be next cycle’s congressional candidate, and Everytown and Moms Demand Action have been very active in candidate recruitment all across the country, including in local races that don’t typically revolve around issues like gun control or Second Amendment rights.


Will Everytown’s investment pay off? We’ll know later this evening, but the bigger takeaway is that with anti-gunners paying so much attention to these smaller, down-ballot races, gun owners and Second Amendment activists can’t afford to ignore them going forward.


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