The Brady Bunch feels pretty emboldened these days. Sure, there’s a plague sweeping the country, but they managed to flip Virginia last year and turn it into an anti-gun state. That’s a big win for the gun control group, a group not known for scoring big wins in the grand scheme of things.
Now, though, it seems they want to focus on a different state this time around.
As the coronavirus outbreak ravages fundraising efforts bypoliticalcampaigns across Texas, the political affiliate of one of the country’s oldest gun violence prevention groups is bringing reinforcements to the state, where it sees Democrats’ efforts to flip the state Houses as among the most important races in the nation.
BradyPAC is the latest gun safety group to turn its attention to Texas, planning to spend more than half a million on elections there — more than it’s spending anywhere in the nation by far — as the state remains the top target in 2020 for groups pushing for new gun laws.
“If you can get Texas passing strong gun laws, I think that sends a really strong message to the rest of the country,” said Brian Lemek, executive director of the political action committee affiliated with Brady, a nonprofit formed in 1974 that advocates for assault weapons bans, red flag laws and stricter gun storage requirements, among other things.
Texas gun rights groups are also stepping up fundraising, warning supporters that they need to help defend 20 seats in the Texas House this fall.
BradyPAC’s spending plans — the full extent of which were shared exclusively with Hearst Newspapers — come as other activists, including the Everytown for Gun Safetygroup backed by former New York Mayor Mike Bloomberg, have said they plan to spend millions in Texas on an “unprecedented financial and grassroots effort” to flip the Texas House, defend vulnerable freshmen Democrats in Congress and help Democrats take congressional seats in the suburbs.
In other words, they’re focusing on a handful of key seats to try and swing the entire state, much as they did in Virginia.
However, there are problems they’re overlooking.
For one, their opposition in Virginia didn’t take the threat seriously. They didn’t really rally the troops. They were quite content to just sit it out and assume all would be well.
Texas is likely to learn from that fact.
As noted above, state gun rights groups are stepping up their own efforts. They’ll likely dig in and also target those same districts, as well as any where an anti-gun Democrat is vulnerable. It’s not going to be a repeat of 2019 Virginia.
Not only that but how many in those same districts were among the legions swarming into gun stores, concerned about social unrest in the wake of COVID-19? I’d guess a significant number of them. Now, how many saw what kind of a nightmare it was for people like them in states like California and New Jersey?
That’s going to make a difference as well.
Look, Brady can try whatever they want to try. It’s a free country, after all. I’m just saying that Texans aren’t exactly poised to pretend this isn’t a threat to them and their way of life. They’ll rally the troops.
But on the same token, if you’re in one of those districts in Texas, you’d best start rallying folks yourself. Don’t take the other side for granted. That’s what they did in Virginia and we all know how that turned out.