A new political action committee formed by Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti to help flip Congress to Democratic control reported more than $120,000 in its first couple of weeks of fundraising, according to its first filing with the Federal Election Commission.
The PAC, the Democratic Midterm Victory Fund, garnered $5,000 contributions from a number of individuals, including communications executive and billionaire Marc Nathanson. David Houston, the founder of Barney's Beanery, gave $2,500. A trio of organized labor groups chipped in — including $20,000 from Working for Working Americans, a group linked to carpenters' unions.
Building trades unions have donated $1 million to multiple Garcetti-backed causes in the last two years, as detailed in a KPCC report last month.
Formed in mid-November, the new PAC didn't begin bringing in many contributions until mid-December. The FEC report captures fundraising through the end of 2017.
"We were really only raising funds for two weeks after a soft launch around the holidays," said PAC spokesman Yusef Robb. "It looks like people within our networks are very excited about taking seats in these 2018 midterms."
As Garcetti ponders a run for the White House in 2020, his activity in the 2018 midterms provides an early entrance onto the national stage and an opportunity to build and bolster relationships.
The filing also reveals the first two candidates backed by the fund: newly-elected Alabama Sen. Doug Jones, who received $600 during his campaign, and Jacky Rosen, a Democrat hoping to unseat incumbent Nevada Sen. Dean Heller in November. The Nevada seat is considered a tossup; Hillary Clinton won the state in 2016.
Robb said the PAC is still deciding which other races to target, adding that it will mainly focus on House races and is taking a close look at congressional districts across California.
Rob Pyers, who analyzes elections for the California Target Book, said the Victory Fund's finances are only just beginning to come into focus. To make a serious impact, the group will need to bring in money fast. The PAC makes a late entrance into what Pyers calls an "an explosion of California-focused groups this cycle." Among them:
- California Victory 2018, a committee supporting vulnerable California Republicans that raised $4.6 million in 2017.
- PAC for a Change, a Barbara-Boxer linked group that brought in $1.7 million last year.
- Red to Blue CA, a group aiming to flip Republican-held congressional seats, and which took in about $500,000 last year.
- Fight Back California, yet another organization targeting vulnerable California GOP House members, raised $200,000 in 2017.
- Flip the 14, which raised $70,000 in 2017 to target all fourteen GOP members of California's congressional delegation.
- Flip the 49th!, a group that counts Leonardo DiCaprio and Ted Danson among its donors, is looking to hand retiring Republican Darrell Issa's seat to a Democrat. It raised $54,000 in 2017.
Garcetti isn't the only mayor looking to make moves in the 2018 midterms. His counterpart in the Accelerator for America nonprofit, South Bend, Indiana Mayor Pete Buttigieg, has his own committee dedicated to electing Democrats to everything from local to national offices. Dubbed the Hitting Home PAC, it brought in nearly $200,000 in 2017.
Democratic Midterm Victory Fund donors — $5,000 or greater
|Working for Working Americans||12/18/17||$20,000|
|Renee Dake Wilson||12/22/17||$5,000|
|National Union of Healthcare Workers||12/20/17||$5,000|
|Carpenters Legislative Improvement Cmte||12/18/17||$5,000|