Gun control group to spend at least $5 million in Arizona ahead of November

Gun control group to spend at least $5 million in Arizona ahead of November
© Greg Nash

Gun control group Everytown for Gun Safety announced Tuesday it plans to spend at least $5 million in Arizona ahead of the state's highly contested Senate race and the general election in November. 

The outlay in Arizona is part of the group's $60 million national investment this election cycle. 

The group said it will put a special emphasis on helping former Vice President Joe BidenJoe BidenBiden on Trump's refusal to commit to peaceful transfer of power: 'What country are we in?' Democratic groups using Bloomberg money to launch M in Spanish language ads in Florida Harris faces pivotal moment with Supreme Court battle MORE win the state, along with supporting Democrat Mark Kelly in unseating Sen. Martha McSallyMartha Elizabeth McSallyThe Hill's Campaign Report: Presidential polls tighten weeks out from Election Day Mark Kelly: Arizona Senate race winner should be sworn in 'promptly' New ABC/WaPost poll finds Trump edging Biden in Arizona, Florida MORE (R-Ariz.). 

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Kelly's wife, former Rep. Gabby Giffords (D-Ariz.), was a victim of gun violence in 2011 and has since become a prominent gun-control advocate. She established her own gun control advocacy group that bears her name. 

Everytown's strategy in Arizona will be similar to the strategy used in 2019 in Virginia, which saw a number of Democratic candidates win on the issue of gun control, giving the party full control of the state government. 

Charlie Kelly, a senior political adviser for Everytown for Gun Safety, told reporters the group plans to release "compelling television" ads and direct mail targeting key voting groups, like women and Spanish-speaking voters, in the state, as well as bolster its digital presence in the state. 

He added that the presidential and Senate races could come down to Maricopa County, which played a decisive role in Sen. Krysten SinemaKyrsten SinemaReplacing Justice Ginsburg could depend on Arizona's next senator Why Trump, GOP are running into trouble in Arizona Gun control group to spend at least million in Arizona ahead of November MORE's (D-Ariz.) victory over then-Rep. McSally. Trump narrowly won the county in 2016 by a little more than 2 points. 

"[Maricopa County] really might be the most important swing county in the nation this cycle," he said. "Voters in this incredibly important county strongly support stronger gun laws." 

Republicans appear to face an uphill climb in the state, with Biden and Mark Kelly leading in a number of polls. 

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The Real Clear Politics polling average shows Kelly ahead of McSally in the Senate race by 8 points, while Biden leads Trump by 4.4 points. 

Trump won the state by roughly four points in 2016. 

"Less than four years ago, Trump won Arizona on a platform that could have been written by the NRA [National Rifle Association]," the group's president, John Feinblatt, said. "The political calculus in the state has dramatically shifted."