Mike Bloomberg’s Everytown for Gun Safety Target Shank

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New York-based gun safety group targets Erie County Sheriff candidate Brian Shank in online ads and direct mail that hit social media platforms and mailboxes in the end from last week.

Everytown for Gun Safety, whose main backer is former New York mayor and billionaire businessman Michael Bloomberg, invests $ 200,000 to oppose Republican Shank in Erie County sheriff race , as the Pennsylvania Capital-Star first reported on Friday.

The group has also launched a website that uses the same content from its other advertisements. “Brian Shank will not protect us,” say the ads and the website.

“Everytown is going to make sure voters know which sheriff candidates are on the gun safety side – and which are determined to take justice into their own hands for their own ‘guns everywhere’ agenda “John Feinblatt, head of the Everytown for Gun Safety Victory Fund, said in a statement Friday.

The statement also said that Everytown for Gun Safety’s Victory Fund has launched a “new independent spending program to participate in the nationwide sheriff’s election,” starting with a $ 200,000 investment in County of Erie for digital advertising and direct mail which is part of a pilot program.

“This year’s efforts mark increased independent spending next year on ballot races, including sheriff’s elections, when the vast majority of those elections are on the ballot,” the statement said. “The gun safety issues in the Erie County sheriff race couldn’t be clearer. Democratic sheriff candidate Chris Campanelli is a sensible gun candidate against Republican Brian Shank, a dangerous extremist in the gun lobby. “

High level race:Erie Voice: Sheriff candidate brags about background and promises new perspective for office

Erie County Councilor Brian Shank is the Republican candidate for Erie County sheriff.

Shank, a member of the Erie County Council, posted a statement on his campaign Facebook page on Saturday.

“Big donors who have never been to our city to influence us are a recurring theme this year,” said Shank, who was supported by the Gun Owners of America. “Voters in Erie County should be upset. Special interest groups in New York City think they can buy their vote and use us as a political petri-dish experiment. This money out of state isn’t interested in what’s good for Erie County, but their political agendas.

Shank’s statement goes on to say that he and “his opponent” have had their own campaigns so far and he hopes that can continue. He called on Campanelli to condemn “this campaign of personal defamation tactics” of Everytown for Gun Safety. His statement also says that the group’s main supporter, Bloomberg, a Democrat, shouldn’t “tell us what’s best” for Erie County.

Campanelli told the Erie Times-News on Monday that his campaign was “in no way affiliated with this organization.

“The public has been misled into believing that this is an outside source donating these exorbitant sums to my campaign,” Campanelli said, “but as you know the campaign funding is notorious public and they (public) can search it on the Erie County website. We have not accepted any money from them and are in no way affiliated with them. “

Chris Campanelli is the Democratic candidate for Erie County Sheriff.  It is shown here on May 18, the evening of the municipal primaries.

Allegations against Shank raised in advertisements

The ads in question target Shank for allegations of misconduct, including sexual misconduct, which Shank faced as a correctional officer for the State Corrections Institute in Cambridge Springs, a minimum security prison for women, prior to his release. retirement in 2014.

An exclusive Erie Times-News report in March, which is quoted in Everytown for Gun Safety ads, detailed the allegations, which would form part of a civil lawsuit.

March Report:Inmates accused Erie Shank County Sheriff candidate of misconduct in his old job

In depositions obtained by The Times-News for the report, Shank admitted to some of the allegations made against him by inmates, including hitting inmates on the buttocks with a ruler on one occasion and intentionally discussing bacon in front of a Muslim inmate. who he said was part of a running joke between him and the woman.

“We all have things in our past where we haven’t made great judgments in our lives,” Shank told The Times-News in March, when asked about the allegations. “And, you know, we move forward, we learn from them.”

However, Shank also denied other allegations by inmates, one of which told staff she saw him kiss another inmate in an office, and another who claimed Shank touched his breasts during a pat-down search. The Department of Corrections was unable to substantiate these allegations through its investigations.

Democratic candidate:Chris Campanelli linked to Facebook posts attacking ‘illegal’ Democratic Party

2013 Erie gun rally cited

Everytown for Gun Safety also targeted Shank for being one of eight people who received a citation from the City of Erie for carrying a gun at a rally in Perry Square in June 2013 in violation of an ordinance. of the city banning firearms and other weapons in public. parks.

The ads say Shank is “unfit to serve” and “endangers the families of Erie County.”

Shank broke the law in Erie County, illegally carrying a gun, putting our families and communities at risk. He even opposed common sense gun safety laws like background checks. of all sales of firearms. “

What the ads don’t say, however, is that a state appeals court overturned the city’s ban, which had been in effect since at least 1976, forcing it to drop charges against Shank and seven others, all of whom were in secret detention. carry the license at the time. A year later, the city completely removed the ordinance from its books.

From 2014 :Following state law, Erie hits gun ordinance

Shank and others addressed the announcements at an event dubbed a “Veterans Freedom Rally” Saturday in Perry Square. The event included speakers who protested over mask and vaccine warrants as well as gun control legislation, warned of a “coming storm” in the United States, the administration criticized Biden and have promoted the use of a drug that has not been approved by the United States. Food and Drug Administration for the treatment of COVID-19.

Shank, one of the last speakers, spoke mainly about his campaign, but he also referred to the “Erie Eight” who “challenged the people up there in this office”, alluding to the town hall of ‘Erie and the 2013 court ruling. He then addressed the Everytown ads.

“The problem is, I really pissed off Democrats,” Shank told more than 200 spectators. “When the New York hotshots come to our little town and start dictating what they think you should hear, it pisses me off. It makes me want to dig my heels a little deeper and drive a little harder. “

Shank and Campanelli are running for the seat currently held by Democrat John Loomis, who is retiring.

Contact Matthew Rink at [email protected] Follow him on Twitter at @ETNrink.


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