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Illustration: Rebecca Zisser/Axios

Everytown for Gun Safety, a non-profit that advocates for gun control, is pouring over $11 million into digital ads targeted at vulnerable Democrats running for House seats this year, according to the group's spokesperson. 

Why it matters: It's the largest digital investment ever made by a Democratic non-profit to win the House. And it puts it ahead of other major Democratic non-profits, like the House Majority PAC, in money spent on digital ads targeted at House races, according to sources familiar with their ad spending this cycle.  

How it worked: The group, along with and Mike Bloomberg's Independence USA PAC, targeted dozens of vulnerable districts all over the country with issue ads on everything from gun control to the Republican tax plan. Ads were optimized for their medium.

  • "With digital ads, it is imperative that we grab the viewer immediately, but that's less essential in the context of a TV ad," says Howard Wolfson, a former Democratic political strategist.

Between the lines: The groups worked with Bully Pulpit Interactive (BPI), one of the largest progressive digital ad agencies in the country, to place the ads. BPI was hired by both the Obama and Clinton presidential campaigns, as well as dozens of other Democratic House, Senate and gubernatorial campaigns. 

  • "We had over 30 people working on this since June," says BPI parter Ben Coffey Clark. "We've been optimizing the campaign on hourly basis."

Be smart: The massive investment also speaks to former New York Mayor Mike Bloomberg's commitment to supporting the Democratic Party amid rumors of a presidential run in 2020. 

"Mike has been focused on being able speak to both the base and the middle with our program. He doesn't believe it's a false choice. He doesn't think you have to choose if you have his resources."
— Howard Wolfson 

The bigger picture: In pouring millions in ads into this cycle, the Bloomberg-backed group essentially handed BPI a massive budget to test which ads, strategies and messages are resonating most with voters ahead of 2020.  

  • The Clinton campaign, BPI and other media agencies were criticized after the 2016 election for being overly reliant on models and predictive analytics as a part of their ad strategy. 
  • Republicans, on the other hand, relied more on testing different ad campaigns through thousands of different creative iterations that were targeted daily. 

Go deeper

Updated 53 mins ago - Health

U.K. first nation to clear Pfizer coronavirus vaccine for mass rollout

A health care worker during the phase 3 COVID-19 vaccine trial by the Pfizer and BioNTech in Ankara, Turkey, in October. Photo: Dogukan Keskinkilic/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

The United Kingdom's government announced Wednesday it's approved Pfizer-BioNTech's COVID-19 vaccine, which "will be made available across the U.K. from next week."

Why it matters: The U.K. has beaten the U.S. to become the first Western country to give emergency approval for a vaccine that's found to be 95% effective with no serious side effects against a virus that's killed nearly 1.5 million people globally.

3 hours ago - World

NYT: Biden won't immediately remove U.S. tariffs on China

President-elect Joe Biden during an event in Wilmington, Delaware, on Tuesday. Photo: Alex Wong/Getty Images

President Trump's 25% tariffs imposed on China under the phase one trade deal will remain in place at the start of the new administration, President-elect Biden said in an interview with the New York Times published early Wednesday.

Details: "I'm not going to make any immediate moves, and the same applies to the tariffs," Biden said. He plans to conduct a full review of the current U.S. policy on China and speak with key allies in Asia and Europe to "develop a coherent strategy," he said.

Trump threatens to veto Defense spending bill over social media shield

Photo: Erin Schaff - Pool/Getty Images

President Trump tweeted Tuesday a threat to veto a must-pass end-of-year $740 billion bill defense-spending authorization bill unless Congress repeals a federal law that protects social media sites from legal liability.

Why it matters: Trump's attempt to get Congress to end the tech industry protections under Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act is the latest escalation in his war on tech giants over what he and some other Republicans perceive as bias against conservatives.