The “TBD…” line on Hillary Clinton’s Twitter page has a serious monetary backer. Super PAC Priorities USA Action announced Thursday it would begin raising money for a 2016 Clinton Presidential campaign. The Super PAC was formed in 2012, and was a fund-raising force for President Obama.
Another key announcement was made on Thursday by the Super PAC. It issued a press statement detailing a new leadership line-up. The co-chairs of the board will be Jim Messina and Jennifer Granholm. Messina served as the White House Deputy Chief of Staff for Operations from 2009 to 2011. In 2012, he was Obama’s campaign manager. Granholm is a former Democratic Governor of Michigan, an office she was elected to in 2002 and 2006. Other key Democratic party leaders are on the board, like Stephanie Schriock, the founder of pro-choice group EMILY’s List.
“We couldn’t be more proud and excited to be joined by Jim Messina and Governor Granholm, whose leadership and political acumen will be invaluable in our effort to elect a Democratic president in 2016,” said Priorities USA Action Executive Director Buffy Wicks said in the statement. “We are here to make sure that progressive values are not drowned out by right-wing organizations, and that the necessary resources are in place to give the middle class a voice in the 2016 election.”
“I think the numbers clearly show that she’s the strongest presidential candidate on the Democratic side,” Messina said in an interview with the New York Times, who broke the Clinton story, “and Priorities is going to be there for her if she decides to run.”
Messina is also the chair of Organizing for America, a non-profit that started out as “Obama for America,” and was part of the President’s campaign efforts. Messina does not think the Super PAC and the non-profit will be in competition with each other for funding. “What I think Priorities is going to do better than anyone else is continue our data advantage and be on the offense,” Mr. Messina said. “Whoever runs for president.”
Nick Merrill, a spokesperson for Clinton, responded to the news. “While they are an independent entity acting on their own, their enthusiasm is flattering. In the end though, only she can make that very personal decision, and as she has said, she won’t be doing so anytime soon.”
Priorities USA Action is going to focus on television microtargeting strategies Messina learned while running the 2012 campaign. Microtargeting applies commercial marketing principles to campaigning, tailoring political messages to voters who are most likely to view that message favorably. “Priorities did not have that ability last time, because we were on the other side of the wall inventing it,” Mr. Messina said.
During the 2012 Presidential election, Priorities USA Action spent $67 million in attack ads targeting Republican candidate, Mitt Romney. Supporters of the group have said in 2016, the goal is to surpass this figure. On the organizations website, the Super PAC says one of its goals is to “define a clear choice for the American public during the 2016 presidential election.”
An NBC News/Marist Poll from January 15 has Clinton winning the general election against Governor Chris Christie (R-N.J.). When given the two candidates, 50 percent chose Clinton, and 37 percent Christie. The last time the question was asked, in December 2013, Clinton won 48 percent of the vote and Christie had 45 percent. Christie, a Republican frontrunner for 2016, likely saw a drop in support due his office’s involvement in the George Washington Bridge Scandal.