Janie Lorber, Roll Call, March 21, 2012
PAC Plus, a new minority-focused super PAC, launched today with one of Washington, D.C.’s most powerful Democrats in its corner.
John Podesta, the founder of the Center for American Progress and a former White House chief of staff, will advise the group. PAC Plus is an outgrowth of PowerPAC, a 527 organization that spent $10 million in 2007 to help President Barack Obama secure the Democratic nomination.
PAC Plus expects to spend another $10 million this year to mobilize blacks and Hispanics in support of Democrats in six states with large minority populations — Texas, New Mexico, California, Georgia, Arizona and Ohio.
By targeting Texas and Georgia — two states that will almost certainly vote Republican this year — the group hopes to cultivate future candidates and voters.
The PAC Plus mission is sweeping: A get-out-the-vote campaign combined with race-specific independent expenditures focusing on the presidential contest, Congressional and state elections. Few organizations operate on such a grand scale, and Phillips acknowledged that the mandate would likely be trimmed to fill the gaps in the existing network of Democratic outside groups.
PAC Plus appears to be in a class of its own, and the group’s founders said they hope to bring cultural competency to existing efforts to appeal to blacks and Hispanics.
“It’s not enough to just speak in a different language to those voters,” said Julie Martinez Ortega, a partner with the Project New America Latino who serves as the PAC’s vice president for policy and advocacy. “It’s actually about transmitting a very different message . . . that is going to, in fact, resonate.”