The Working Families Party, a left-wing group, told POLITICO it is launching a super PAC effort to help support Rep. Rashida Tlaib’s reelection campaign.
Tlaib (D-Mich.), a member of the so-called “Squad” along with Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.), Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.) and Ayanna Pressley (D-Mass.), is facing a primary challenge from the center. The Working Families Party and other allies see it as the most serious threat to the Squad this year.
Aides said the new independent expenditure, which is being done in conjunction with the local organization Detroit Action, will initially spend $100,000 on digital ads, texting and phone canvassing to support Tlaib, with the possibility of investing more money in the weeks ahead. The outreach will be focused on young Black and Latino voters, and is expected to highlight her record on racial justice, including her promotion of the BREATHE Act, which seeks to eliminate federal programs “used to finance and expand” law enforcement.
“Millions have taken to the streets to defend Black lives and demand a more just world, and they deserve representatives who reflect their passion and aspirations. Rashida’s leadership on the BREATHE Act and COVID-19 relief efforts in Detroit show her commitment to Black lives,” said Maurice “Moe” Mitchell, national director of the Working Families Party. “There’s no question that Rashida is the candidate who best speaks to this movement and this moment.”
Democrat Brenda Jones, the Detroit City Council president, is running against Tlaib. In 2018, Jones won a special election to briefly finish Rep. John Conyers Jr.’s term following his resignation. However, Tlaib finished first in that year’s six-way primary for the full two-year term by 1 percentage point and was then elected in November.
In her 2020 New York primary, Ocasio-Cortez defeated her closest challenger, Michelle Caruso-Cabrera, by 53 points, according to nearly completed results. Antone Melton-Meaux is looking to unseat Omar in the Minnesota primary in August.
“Rashida Tlaib fought to keep families in their homes and kept the water going to Detroit residents in the midst of a pandemic. She continues to deliver relief to the folks who needed it most,” said Detroit Action executive director Branden Snyder in a statement. “Rashida Tlaib is the unbought, unbossed leader that the people of the 13th District need, and Black and brown working people in Detroit have her back.”
WFP staff said another reason it is getting involved in the race is that the Detroit Democratic establishment throwing its weight behind Jones. It has tussled with Democratic machines in New York, New Jersey and Pennsylvania.
The progressive left, long opposed to super PACs, has embraced them more in recent months. Earlier this year, senior aides to Bernie Sanders’ 2020 presidential campaign launched two independent expenditures aimed at electing Joe Biden. The Working Families Party and Justice Democrats also teamed up to form a super PAC backing Jamaal Bowman, a middle-school principal who defeated longtime Rep. Eliot Engel in New York’s June primary.