VoteVets Plans $45 Million Push to Lift Biden and Democrats - The World News

VoteVets Plans $45 Million Push to Lift Biden and Democrats

VoteVets, the liberal political action committee known for supporting veterans running for office, will spend $45 million to back President Biden and Democratic candidates for the House and Senate, Jon Soltz, the group’s co-founder and chairman, said.

VoteVets is the latest liberal organization to announce its 2024 plans to back Mr. Biden and other Democratic candidates. Future Forward, the main Democratic super PAC supporting Mr. Biden’s bid, has a $250 million ad blitz planned. Last month the liberal activist group MoveOn revealed its $32 million program.

The centerpiece of the VoteVets effort is a $15 million project aimed at veterans and active-duty military families in the presidential battleground states.

The man Mr. Biden beat in 2020 and is likely to face in a rematch this fall, former President Donald J. Trump, slipped among veterans during his re-election campaign. In 2020, Mr. Trump performed a net 14 points worse among veterans and military families than he did in the 2016 election against Hillary Clinton, according to a Pew Research study released in 2021. Mr. Trump still carried veterans, but his erosion of support followed an array of evidence that he had been disrespectful to military officials and families.

“While all these other groups focus on base turnout, somebody has to be able to focus on cutting losses with some of these core groups,” Mr. Soltz said in an interview. “Elections aren’t just won by running up the score, it’s by cutting losses, and Biden’s success largely came by cutting losses in this community.”

VoteVets, which Mr. Soltz founded in 2006 in opposition to the Iraq war, has grown into one of the Democratic Party’s leading benefactors. Mr. Soltz remained a leading voice for ending the U.S. military presence in Afghanistan.

Mr. Soltz acknowledged that Mr. Biden’s handling of the Afghanistan withdrawal “hasn’t tested well,” but said that Mr. Trump’s support for the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the Capitol and his public fights with military leaders will be featured in VoteVets advertising.

“There’s political ramifications to all this,” Mr. Soltz said. “There’s no other way to explain the disrespect to Gold Star families and the erratic behavior and the attacks on our law enforcement at the Capitol — these are values things.”

In the 2022 midterm elections, only four other super PACs exceeded the $24.7 million that VoteVets spent on Democratic candidates: the main House and Senate super PACs, the League of Conservation Voters and EMILYs List, which backs Democratic women who support abortion rights.

VoteVets had $11 million in cash at the end of 2023, according to its filing with the Federal Election Commission.

The group will spend money to back incumbent Senate Democrats in Montana, Nevada, Pennsylvania and Ohio, along with Representatives Ruben Gallego of Arizona and Elissa Slotkin of Michigan, who are seeking a promotion to the Senate. VoteVets also will back Representative Andy Kim of New Jersey, who is in a hard-fought primary campaign to succeed the embattled and indicted Senator Robert Menendez.

VoteVets also will back Democratic House candidates who are veterans, have national security backgrounds or are in the most competitive districts, Mr. Soltz said.

Mr. Soltz said VoteVets intended to conduct focus group research and polling of its network of families of veterans and active-duty service members. It will also run targeted mail and digital advertising campaigns, as well as TV and radio ads aimed at rural markets that have larger concentrations of veterans.

To that end, VoteVets has already begun its campaign to amplify some of Mr. Trump’s most infamous statements about the military. Last month, the group spent $100,000 on an ad that ran in Pennsylvania during an N.F.L. playoff game, featuring Gold Star parents condemning Mr. Trump for calling Americans who died in overseas wars “suckers” and “losers.”

Representative Brian Mast of Florida, a Trump campaign surrogate, called the VoteVets ad “as vile as it is absurd.”

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