Pro-Obama PAC Lines Up New Team to Lead Effort for Clinton

Friday, 10 Jan 2014 02:43 PM

By Sandy Fitzgerald

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A pro-Obama political action committee expected to back Hillary Clinton if she runs for president in 2016 is lining up a new leadership team.

Priorities USA Action, the PAC that led attacks against Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney during his 2012 campaign against President Barack Obama, announced plans Friday to name a new executive director and other key officials, reports The Washington Post.

Priorities appears to be positioning itself to support the Clinton candidacy, laying groundwork sought by Hollywood producer Jeffrey Katzenberg, who provided the initial seed money for the Obama-backing PAC in 2011.

Longtime field organizer Buffy Wicks, who helped lead Obama's get-out-the-vote campaign among African-Americans, Latinos, and youth, is being promoted as the PAC's new executive director, officials said. She now works as a senior fellow for the Center for American Progress.

Democratic fundraiser, Jonathan Mantz, Clinton's national finance director during her 2008 presidential run, is also joining Priorities as senior adviser for finance. Mantz is now managing director for BGR Group, a lobbying firm.

The PAC also expects to expand its board of directors, including adding former Obama campaign manager, Jim Messina, the Post reports, and keeping on Paul Begala and Sean Sweeney as senior advisers.

The Ready for Hillary PAC, meanwhile, is continuing its activities aimed at pushing a Clinton run. The PAC raised $4 million last year and recently acquired the email lists of donors and supporters from Clinton's 2008 bid.

"Ready for Hillary believes it has more contributors than all other presidential super PACs ever, combined," said a statement issued by the PAC Wednesday. "Contributions ranged from $1 to the group's voluntary maximum contribution of $25,000, with an average contribution of $82. Ninety-eight percent of contributions were $100 or less."

The co-chair of the national finance council for Ready for Hillary is billionaire liberal activist George Soros.

But Friday's announcement indicates that Priorities is gearing up to enter the 2016 action with an aggressive fundraising push of its own led by some of Obama's biggest 2012 contributors.

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