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Gun safety organization launches $3.6 million ad campaign targeting Lombardo

Tabitha Mueller
Tabitha Mueller
Election 2022State Government
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The country’s largest gun safety advocacy organization is jumping into Nevada’s 2022 gubernatorial election with a $3.6 million media campaign attacking Republican Clark County Sheriff Joe Lombardo.

The Everytown for Gun Safety Victory Fund and Everytown for Gun Safety Action Fund announced the campaign Wednesday, noting that the effort will focus on mobilizing voters around the issue of gun safety. 

“Five years after the deadliest mass shooting in modern American history, Nevada has shown the country what gun safety progress looks like,” the organization’s president, John Feinblatt,  said in a statement. 

Feinblatt added that “Nevadans want candidates who will stand up to the gun lobby and fight for common-sense gun safety laws.” The campaign will target the Las Vegas area and feature advertisements on television and other digital media platforms.

The initial two video advertisements criticized staffing cuts made under Lombardo’s leadership of the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department in 2020. They also denounced his decision to decentralize the police department’s structure, moving more than 160 detectives and leadership positions from centralized investigative bureaus, such as the gang unit, to patrol area commands covering select geographic areas of Clark County.

“Joe Lombardo’s job is supposed to be fighting crime and he’s failing at that,” one advertisement said. 

The other advertisement also featured people identified as Nevada voters discussing incidents of violence that took place in their communities and ended with the lines: “I definitely feel less safe. I don’t want Joe Lombardo as sheriff. I definitely don’t want him as governor.”

A fact check by The Nevada Independent showed that as structural changes within the police department took place, Southern Nevada experienced a significant increase in certain types of violent crime, including homicides and rapes. But violent crimes increased across major U.S. cities during the same timeframe, and Lombardo’s decentralized policy did not lead to a sustained increase in all forms of violent crime.

In 2018, Everytown also spent $3.5 million to boost Gov. Steve Sisolak and Attorney General Aaron Ford’s campaigns. 

Editor’s Note: This story appears in Indy 2022, The Nevada Independent’s newsletter dedicated to comprehensive coverage of the 2022 election. Sign up for the newsletter here.

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