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Senate Majority PAC announces new senior staff

Democratic super PAC raised and spent more than $164 million in 2018 cycle

J.B. Poersch is the president of Senate Majority PAC. (CQ Roll Call file photo)
J.B. Poersch is the president of Senate Majority PAC. (CQ Roll Call file photo)

The Democratic super PAC focused on Senate races is announcing a new round of senior staff hires, according to an announcement shared first with CQ Roll Call. All of the new staffers are women with experience in competitive races. 

Senate Majority PAC is a major spender in Senate races and its president, J.B. Poersch, said the group is looking to expand the Senate map in 2020. Inside Elections with Nathan L. Gonzales rates eight GOP-held Senate seats as competitive, and Democrats need a net gain of four seats to flip the Senate (or three if they win the White House, since the vice president casts the chamber’s tie-breaking vote).

“We are proud of the talented team we have assembled to seize on the growing Democratic momentum and expanding Senate battlefield in 2020,” Poersch said in a statement. “Our team brings a wealth of experience in battleground states that are key to winning the Senate majority, and will put us in a strong position to compete deep into the map this cycle.”

Super PACs are not subject to contribution limits and can spend unlimited amounts to directly support candidates as long as they do not coordinate with those campaigns. In the 2018 election cycle, the committee spent and raised more than $164 million, and got a single contribution of $20 million from former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg.

Ghada Alkiek joins the group as political manager, after serving as Michigan Democratic Rep. Dan Kildee’s deputy chief of staff. She worked on Kildee’s campaigns as well as freshman Democratic Michigan Rep. Elissa Slotkin’s race in 2018, where Slotkin won a seat that Donald Trump had carried by 7 points in 2016. Next year, Democrats are defending a Senate seat in Michigan, with Sen. Gary Peters running for reelection in a state Trump won by less than a half a point.

Two other new hires also have experience working on competitive House races. Emma Levin was named a senior adviser after recently working in senior finance positions at the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee.

Communications Director Rachel Irwin  worked at the DCCC during the 2018 cycle as Midwest press secretary. She most recently served as Iowa communications director for New York Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand’s ill-fated presidential campaign. Irwin has worked for the Maine Democratic Party, where Democrats are looking to defeat GOP Sen. Susan Collins in 2020. Diana Asitz, a DCCC veteran from 2012 and 2014, is remaining at Senate Majority PAC as research director and senior adviser. She first joined the group in 2017.

Senate Majority PAC’s new national finance director is Tonya Fulkerson, who worked on fundraising strategy with several Democratic senators in the 2018 cycle, including now-Arizona Sen. Kyrsten Sinema. Democrats are once again looking to defeat Arizona GOP Sen. Martha McSally, who was appointed to the late Sen. John McCain’s seat after narrowly losing to Sinema in 2018. Fulkerson also worked as the mid-Atlantic region’s finance director at the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee from 2006 to 2009.

The group is also bringing on Margit Westerman, who worked at Bully Pulpit Interactive and GMMB, as digital director. She also worked on Hillary Clinton’s digital advertising team in 2016.

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