The Hidden Campaign
Progressive Groups Plan Robust 2008 Mobilization
By Matthew Mosk
A broad range of interest groups today announced plans for a costly independent drive to mobilize progressive voters for the 2008 election, much of it targeting younger and minority voters.
Leaders from the loose coalition of groups predicted a combined spending effort that will total more than $350 million.
During a press conference describing the endeavor, leaders from several of the groups made clear the effort is aimed at taking on presumptive Republican presidential nominee John McCain. McCain is already the target of an independent ad paid for by the Fund for America, a group financed by wealthy financier George Soros, and by the Service Employees International Union.
Heather Smith, the executive director of Rock the Vote, said youth turnout in the primaries has already proven that "the conventional wisdom" about youth apathy is false. "In every early primary contest so far, turnout has either doubled, tripled or quadrupled," she said. Young people are "paying attention to politics at rates we've never seen."
MoveOn.org also plans to engage in the effort "to get the progressive issues front and center in the debate," said Ilyse Hogue, the group's communication director. She predicted the group would spend $30 million "at the intersection of technology and democracy." That will include identifying newly registered young voters, and tracking them through their e-mail, cellphone and online networking presence.
Hogue also described an effort to help Democrats capture 60 seats in the U.S. Senate, saying the group would not only spend on races where Democrats are polling ahead. "We will look for races where we can make them competitive. Where we can take people who are lagging behind in the polls and push them over the top."
Other groups that announced plans to be involved in the voter mobilization effort were: Campaign for America's Future, AFL-CIO, Women's Voices. Women Vote, ACORN, and National Council of La Raza.
Posted at 1:38 PM ET on Mar 18, 2008
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