A newly formed super PAC hopeful to boost Sen. Elizabeth Warren’s floundering bid for the presidency has caused the progressive candidate to reverse her signature policy position promising to reject support from the high-dollar committees.
“Elizabeth rejects the help of Super PACs and would disavow any Super PAC formed to support her in the Democratic primary,” a hopeful statement posted to her campaign website vows. But in light of disappointing results in early primaries and tumbling in national polls, the progressive Massachusetts senator is seeing things in a different light.
Super PACs are legally forbidden from directly donating to campaigns but have no cap on spending money to buy ads and support candidates in other ways.
After the contentious Democratic presidential debate in Las Vegas on Wednesday, in which Warren continuously fired shots at billionaire Michael Bloomberg, it seemed to her that she was playing in an uneven field. “If all the candidates want to get rid of super PACs, count me in,” she said while campaigning on Thursday. “I'll lead the charge. But that's how it has to be. It can't be the case that a bunch of people keep them and only one or two don’t.”
NEW: Here is video of Warren declining to disavow the new super PAC supporting her:— Shane Goldmacher (@ShaneGoldmacher) February 20, 2020
“If all the candidates want to get rid of super PACs, count me in. I'll lead the charge. But that's how it has to be. It can't be the case that a bunch of people keep them and only 1 or 2 don’t.” pic.twitter.com/byxQRjGMfs
Though Warren started off as one of the top candidates in the packed field of 2020 Democratic hopefuls, she has lost significant steam in recent weeks, falling behind Bloomberg in several national polls. Persist, the new super PAC for Warren, has raised almost $800,000 for her stumbling campaign, according to FEC filings.
After blasting wealthy candidates for taking super PAC money during the Wednesday debate, Warren cited gender disparity among the 2020 field of Democrats as the reason to abandon her own principled stance on the subject. “We reached the point a few weeks ago where all of the men who were on the debate stage all had either super PACs or they were multibillionaires who could rummage around in their sock drawers and find enough money to be able to fund a campaign, and the only people who didn’t have them were the two women.”
Persist, a group of progressive women, was formed with the hope of lifting Warren’s performance in the Saturday Nevada caucus after finishing third and fourth in Iowa and New Hampshire, respectively. The super PAC claimed that although they support the senator’s stance on dark money funded politics, she must first win the presidency before reforming the political fundraising system. They created a 30 second ad to support Warren’s bid which will air in Nevada ahead of the caucus.
In response to backlash to her sudden about-face on on accepting super PAC money, the Warren campaign claimed that the senator had not changed her strident position on the matter. “Senator Warren’s position hasn’t changed,” a statement read. “Since day one of this campaign, she has made clear that she thinks all of the candidates should lock arms together and say we don’t want super PACS and billionaires to be deciding our Democratic nominee.” The campaign did not acknowledge that the website explicitly states Warren would reject funding from super PACs.
Though Warren cited Sen. Amy Klobuchar as the only other candidate to not receive help from super PACs on the Wednesday debate stage, she, too accepted a boost from a recently formed PAC. Klobuchar is being supported by Kitchen Table Conversations, a super PAC formed to boost the Minnesota senator as the more moderate candidate who could work across party lines should she win the nomination. They invested more than $700,000 in ads in Nevada and South Carolina to boost Klobuchar's performance at the polls.