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Planned Parenthood, Other Groups To Spend $30 Million on Midterms

Progressive coalition to target young and minority voters in Florida, Michigan, and Nevada

Liberal groups are hoping to turn out enough voters in (Photo By Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)
Liberal groups are hoping to turn out enough voters in (Photo By Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

A coalition of liberal organizations that includes the political arm of Planned Parenthood rolled out a $30 million program Monday to mobilize “infrequent voters” to cast ballots for progressive candidates in the  midterm elections.

Infrequent voters include people of color, women and young people, the coalition says in a joint news release.

The initiative will target voters in Michigan, Florida, and Nevada.

Florida and Nevada are the site of two Senate races that Inside Elections with Nathan L. Gonzales rates Tossup.

“For people of color, young people, and women, everything is on the line in this election,” Deirdre Schifeling, executive director of Planned Parenthood Votes, said in a statement. “The Trump-Pence administration has rolled out discriminatory rules and policies that undermine our basic rights and freedoms. To win in 2018, we need to channel the unprecedented energy and activism we’ve seen in response to these attacks towards winning at the ballot box.”

Planned Parenthood’s political arm launched a similar effort a month before the 2016 presidential election to aid Democratic hopeful Hillary Clinton.

Targeting these types of voters is a time-worn strategy, but it has not worked in the previous midterm cycles “mostly because efforts often engage too close to election day and don’t build real relationships,” the coalition said in its release.

The other organizations funneling money and resources to the initiative — which the coalition is calling “Win Justice” — are the Center for Community Change Action, Color Of Change PAC, and the Service Employees International Union.

The organizations are targeting 1.25 million voters in Florida, a million in Michigan, and 250,000 in Nevada through door-knocking and text messaging with volunteers.

Nevada Republican Sen. Dean Heller faces a formidable electoral test in a tossup race in November. Democrats have coalesced around Rep. Jacky Rosen, though Jesse Sbaih, Rosen’s primary opponent in 2016, has more than $2 million in cash on hand.

In Florida, Democrats are on defense. Sen. Bill Nelson is will be challenged by wealthy Florida two-term Gov. Rick Scott if Scott, as most experts expect, emerges from the GOP primary.

Michigan, a state that swung for Trump in the 2016 election, doesn’t project to be a major political battleground in 2018. But organizers are hoping to create a groundswell of support in favor of progressive stances on flashpoint policy issues, Jeff Parcher, a spokesman for the Center for Community Change Action, said.

“We want to win elections, but we only want to win elections because we want to win things for people,” Parcher said, highlighting immigration reform, abortion rights, child care, and criminal justice reform as areas his and other groups are working on in Michigan.

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