Crooked Media’s political arm pouring money into battleground states

The political arm of Crooked Media, a media company founded by former Obama staffers, is pouring money into battleground states ahead of the November elections.

Vote Save America, a hybrid political action committee, is looking to offset 2023, a down year for progressive political fundraising, by donating to grassroots organizations early to have the “greatest” impact ahead of the 2024 contests.

The group will be giving out at least $160,000 each month through November to various grassroots organizations that will utilize the cash influx to boost voter registration and door-knocking, according to Shaniqua McClendon, Crooked’s vice president of political strategy.

McClendon said voters normally give directly to candidates, which means voting groups often get neglected, something that Vote Save America seeks to address.

“As people are not paying attention to those groups, we wanted to make sure that they are getting money,” McClendon said in an interview with The Hill.

In February, when the group’s voter engagement program started, they identified and donated to four grassroots organizations, giving them $30,000 each.

Ohio Organizing Campaign was one of the beneficiaries. In the Buckeye State, Vote Save America hopes to help Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio) secure his reelection bid.

Along with helping the senator secure his fourth term, the Ohio Organizing Campaign will also help out with three other House races and the state’s Supreme Court election.

“We want our audience to pay a lot more attention to down-ballot races,” McClendon said. “But especially in state Supreme Court races, we’ve seen the way that conservatives have leveraged the courts in their favor.”

In Wisconsin, Vote Save America wants to help President Biden and Sen. Tammy Baldwin (D) win the state.

The group has donated money to Power to the Polls Wisconsin, which is focused on mobilizing Black voters in the Milwaukee area and building connections with the electorate early “so that by the time we get to October, November, these conversations won’t be coming out of the blue and they will have been like long term sustained conversations,” McClendon said.

In Montana, Vote Save America helped out Western Native Voice, as part of efforts to reelect Sen. Jon Tester (D) and help Democrats keep control of the upper chamber.

Western Native Voice engages Native voters in the state, who McClendon said will be a “huge part” of Tester’s push to win in November.

“We want the people who are part of that community to be the people who are engaging that community,” McClendon said.

The last beneficiary of the February donations is Down Home North Carolina because of their focus on turning out voters in rural communities. Democrats increasingly see the state as key to Biden’s reelection strategy in November.

“It’s really hard to win by only focusing on cities, and even if you can’t win all those rural areas, just increasing turnout for Democrats in those places [is] really important,” McClendon said.

By November, Vote Save America will give out $1.5 million to various voter-engagement organizations in at least 12 different states, according to McClendon.

Crooked’s efforts and impact have grown over the years. The organization said it has raised $55 million since 2018.

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