Economy 14-03-2024 13:02 6 Views

Biden allies form new group to coordinate attacks on third-party candidates

Allies of President Biden have formed a super PAC called Clear Choice, aimed at stopping any third-party or independent candidates from gaining traction before the November election.

The group will develop research, test messages and push storylines in the media aimed at dissuading voters from supporting campaigns spearheaded by attorney Robert F. Kennedy Jr., academic activist Cornel West, groups like No Labels and other third parties, said Clear Choice’s founder, Pete Kavanaugh, a strategist who served as deputy campaign manager in Biden’s 2020 presidential campaign.

The group is expected to take on a coordinating role among outside groups who are working on similar efforts, including the opposition research group American Bridge 21st Century and the moderate Democratic group Third Way, which has been leading the effort against No Labels. No decision has been made on whether the group will engage in major paid advertising efforts.

“It’s imperative that this election is a clear choice between President Biden and Donald Trump. No third-party or independent candidate has any chance of winning a state in November, never mind reaching 270 electoral votes,” Kavanaugh said in a statement. “They are spoilers, plain and simple. We’re here to work with allies to ensure those candidates are held accountable, and everything is on the table.”

Democrats have been alarmed this year by the apparent strength of third-party and independent campaigns in polls that test their names against Biden and his presumptive rival, former president Donald Trump. In a five-way contest, Kennedy, West and Green Party contender Jill Stein were supported by 13 percent of voters in a recent Suffolk-USA Today poll. A Fox News poll last week showed the three getting 18 percent of the vote.

The Democratic National Committee has appointed a dedicated team to focus on the issue, with veteran party leader Mary Beth Cahill serving as the senior adviser, strategist Lis Smith as a communications adviser and Ramsey Reid overseeing the day-to-day.

Another recently formed group called Citizens to Save Our Republic, led by former House minority leader Richard A. Gephardt (D-Mo.), has run a few ads to draw attention to the issue. The group has also called on all third-party candidates to sign a pledge to leave the race in six swing states by July 1 if they have not qualified in enough states to win the electoral college and have not polled competitively.

At the same time, Third Way has been running a broad effort against No Labels, aimed primarily at dissuading potential candidates from joining that effort. No Labels is expected to announce a committee to choose its candidates Thursday, with an announcement of the full ticket to be made no later than early April, if the group decides to move forward.

“We have been warning for more than a year about the threat that third-party candidates play in serving as a spoiler for Trump,” said Matt Bennett, Third Way’s vice president for public affairs. “We have been gratified to work with an extraordinary coalition of groups and we are happy to have Clear Choice involved in the fight.”

Pat Dennis, the president of American Bridge, also welcomed the new group.

“Clear Choice is an important partner here,” Dennis said.

This post appeared first on The Washington Post
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