A new liberal super PAC is launching to defeat anti-LGBTQ candidates in the midterms and beyond.
The leaders of Agenda PAC, who shared their plans first with POLITICO, said they are forming in large part because Roe v. Wade was overturned and Justice Clarence Thomas said in a concurring opinion that the Supreme Court should “reconsider” its ruling on same-sex marriage.
“Thomas’ concurring opinion on Dobbs really changed everything,” said Agenda PAC board chair Malcolm Kenyatta, who argued that the document “put a target squarely on the back of the LGBTQ community.”
The first candidate the group is taking on is Doug Mastriano, the Pennsylvania gubernatorial nominee who has said that LGBTQ couples should not be allowed to adopt children, gay marriage should not be legal, and transgender females should not be permitted to compete in women’s sports.
Agenda PAC officials also cited a rise in anti-LGBTQ legislation, as well as the absence of any federal independent expenditures dedicated to opposing anti-LGBTQ candidates, as additional reasons they created the group. The LGBTQ Victory Fund, by contrast, is a PAC aimed at helping elect LGBTQ candidates.
Kenyatta said Agenda PAC has raised somewhere in the “six figures,” including pledges of support, and planned to spend “seven figures” during the midterms. Though the group has not ruled out TV advertising, most of that funding is likely to go toward digital spots.
Agenda PAC is also planning to oppose a handful of Republican House candidates in 2022, though it is still narrowing down that list.
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, who incensed the LGBTQ community when he signed the so-called “Don’t Say Gay” bill into law, is another long-term target for the group. Agenda PAC is not expected to plow money into this year’s gubernatorial race in Florida, however.
“It’s not a shock to anybody that DeSantis is thinking about running for president and we’re prepared to crap on him the whole way,” said Kenyatta.
Along with Kenyatta, a state representative from Pennsylvania, other Democrats involved in the effort include Celinda Lake, a pollster for President Joe Biden’s 2020 campaign; Joe Trippi, a political strategist who managed Howard Dean’s 2004 presidential bid; Shevrin Jones, the first openly gay state senator in Florida; Megan Hunt, the first openly LGBTQ person elected to Nebraska’s state legislature; and Ted Bordelon, a political consultant.
“People’s rights are on the table,” said Lake. “The Trump Republicans are using transgender and LGBTQ issues so aggressively and harmfully in the elections, and I think they should be called out on it.”
Agenda PAC officially kicks off on Thursday with an online video.