With new advertisements, a major gun safety group turns its focus to sheriff elections.

In Washington The largest gun safety organization in the nation is focusing on local sheriff elections this election by spending money in them.

The enormous gun control organization Everytown for Gun Safety, established by former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, said on Friday that it is “leaving no stone unturned in the fight to reduce gun violence” and that it will invest $300,000 in digital ads and sheriff races this year.

Even though it only makes up a small portion of the organization’s overall budget—Everytown spent $55 million on the 2020 election and millions more this year on House and Senate races—it might have a significant impact in these under-the-radar contests. For instance, Tom Hodgson of Bristol County, Massachusetts, one of the two sheriffs they’re after, had spent reported spending roughly $221,000 on his reelection campaign as of September 30.

In the majority of the nation, county sheriffs are chosen by voters directly, in contrast to the majority of law enforcement officials. They rarely receive much notice outside of their localities, but now that both sides of the ideological divide are looking for new venues to support the election of their allies, their campaigns are gaining increasing national attention.

Although the legality of such statements is questionable, Everytown claims that the additional funding is required to combat an growing movement of pro-gun sheriffs and county officials who have pledged they will will not enforce certain gun control laws.

Sheriffs are chosen to uphold the law, not create it, according to Everytown for Gun Safety Victory Fund president John Feinblatt.

The group is stepping up its efforts this year with advertisements in the Massachusetts county of Bristol and the New Mexico county that contains Albuquerque after successfully testing the expenditure technique in an Pennsylvania sheriff race last year. Both states hold competitive elections for sheriff, and the candidates are “hell-bent on leveraging the post to suit their own ‘guns everywhere’ agenda,” in Feinblatt’s words.

According to the Southern Poverty Law Center, the Constitutional Sheriffs and Peace Officers Association is a “extremist group” that “endeavors to radicalize county sheriffs across America into believing they are the ultimate law” in Bristol County, which is adjacent to Rhode Island and includes the cities of Taunton and New Bedford. Bristol County’s longtime incumbent Republican Sheriff Tom Hodgson, whose campaign slogan is “no one’s tougher on crime,” is associated with this group.

Democratic Attleboro mayor Paul Heroux is running against Hodgson.
After the new commercials were released, Hodgson’s campaign stated that “voters will not be deceived by an outside Super PAC.”
Sheriff Tom Hodgson is the only candidate in this campaign who can guarantee the safety of the Bristol County populace, according to spokesman Holly Robichaud.

The Bernalillo County race takes place along more familiar partisan lines in New Mexico. Democratic candidate John Allen, who describes himself as “reform-minded,” is running against Republican Paul Pacheco, who has received high marks from pro-gun rights organizations. Allen stresses rebuilding community trust in law enforcement.

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