Democrats running for Congress in 2014 are worried that prominent outside groups that are forming to back a potential Hillary Clinton presidential candidacy in 2016 are making it more difficult for them to raise the money that is needed to win in this year’s midterms.
Clinton leads overwhelmingly among Democrats in nearly every 2016 poll, and liberal donors, eager to get on board, may be overlooking the 2014 races, potentially siphoning money from Democrats running this year and costing them control of the Senate.
According to the Wall Street Journal, groups like the pro-Hillary Priorities USA Super PAC are aware of this dynamic. Priorities is reportedly “considering tailoring their requests so that donors would be asked to write their biggest checks after the midterm elections are over” to avoid the bad PR that would come with donors telling Democrats in Congressional elections, “I can’t send money to you, House and Senate [candidates], because I’m giving all this money to Priorities.'”
To avoid such situations, “Priorities might ask a donor to pledge $1 million to the Clinton effort over the next few years, but write a check for only $100,000 this year.”
Paul Begala, a longtime Clinton family loyalist and a veteran of Bill Clinton’s war room, is a strategist for the group. Jim Messina, who was President Barack Obama’s campaign manager in 2012, now chairs Priorities, which was started by a former spokesperson for Obama.
Though some Democrats are worried about the “Clinton fatigue” that accompanied the inevitably factor in 2008, Clinton lacks a potential challenger in 2016 who, like Obama, could both inspire the divergent progressive grassroots like Obama was able to do.
There are plenty of other groups that have formed to support Hillary Clinton–and search for dollars. Another group called “Correct the Record” has been started by David Brock, who formed a super PAC that does opposition research on Republican candidates. Ready for Hillary is another that is primarily “collecting email address and identifying grass roots supporters” to make it seem like they are “organically” drawing Clinton into the race. Craig Smith, who was in Bill Clinton’s White House, is a senior adviser to that group, which has held fundraisers for young voters and high-dollar events where it raised six figures.