Iowa Democrats Theresa Greenfield and Congresswoman Cindy Axne grew their support in the gun safety community today with an endorsement from Brady PAC, the sister organization of Brady, the country’s oldest gun violence prevention advocacy group.
Greenfield, a first-time candidate for U.S. Senate, is in the midst of a four-way primary where the winner will take on first-term Sen. Joni Ernst.
“We just see her as the candidate to beat Ernst,” Brian Lemek, executive director of Brady PAC, told Starting Line. “There’s a lot of senators out there that aren’t great on our issues, but there’s not a lot of challengers that we think can win. And Theresa Greenfield is one of those challengers that we think can win.”
A survey released Monday by Public Policy Polling showed Ernst leading Greenfield by a single point, 43% to 42%.
Greenfield’s support for universal background checks, expanding prohibited purchasers and protection orders — also known as red flag laws — is in stark contrast to Ernst’s “solidly pro-gun agenda,” Lemek said.
Last month, Greenfield was endorsed by Giffords, the gun safety organization founded by former congresswoman and mass shooting survivor Gabrielle Giffords.
Brady PAC’s endorsement of Greenfield and Axne also will come with financial support from their $5 million budget.
Ernst has long been boosted by the National Rifle Association. In 2019, the Senate was unable to pass legislation to reauthorize the Violence Against Women Act due in part to her opposition of closing the “boyfriend loophole” — a provision of Democrats’ platform that the NRA is strongly against.
When asked at town hall meetings and by reporters why she doesn’t support taking guns away from all domestic abusers and stalkers, Ernst cites “due process” and concerns that Americans will be unfairly stripped of their 2nd Amendment rights.
“We see her as the candidate and the campaign that can actually be pivotal in flipping the Senate,” Lemek said of Greenfield, “and we want to support her in any way that we can.”
Axne, Lemek said, is “a champion for the cause” and a crucial member in Democrats’ efforts to keep the House.
“She supports universal background checks. She supports an assault weapons ban and David Young doesn’t,” Lemek said of Axne’s Republican opponent. “It’s almost that simple.”
If Democrats win the House and Senate this year, Lemek was hopeful they would first pass the “least controversial” of Brady PAC’s priorities — universal background checks. From there, the group also wants to see an assault weapons ban restored.
Founded in 2018, in the wake of the mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, Lemek said Brady PAC has grown stronger each year as Americans become more vocal and financially invested in their support for gun safety legislation.
“We’re a great example of how the movement’s changed,” he said. “We’re putting everything we can up against the NRA and the NRA-backed candidates and incumbents like Joni Ernst, David Young.”
By Elizabeth Meyer
Iowa Starting Line is an independently-owned progressive news outlet devoted to providing unique, insightful coverage on Iowa news and politics. We need reader support to continue operating — please donate here. Follow us on Twitter and Facebook for more coverage.
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