Some of the Democratic Party’s most powerful factions are joining forces behind a massive organizing program in six battleground states — an effort aimed at minimizing the damage from a potentially protracted primary and giving the party’s eventual nominee a fighting chance against Donald Trump’s political machine.
Dubbed Organizing Together 2020, the effort was assembled by one of Barack Obama’s battleground gurus, Paul Tewes, and is hiring hundreds of staffers in Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, Michigan, Florida, North Carolina and Arizona.
The party’s biggest union supporters and top progressive groups, as well as several governors, are powering the initiative, which has not been previously reported.
“We may not have a nominee until July. This could be a protracted primary,” Tewes told POLITICO, acknowledging that the battle between Bernie Sanders, Joe Biden, Elizabeth Warren and the other eight presidential candidates could leave bruised Democratic feelings along the way.
“The idea is that we should get the organizing done earlier. Let’s give people a home, foster a little unity,” he said.
Tewes added: “We’re under no illusion that this is the salve.”
The organizing effort, which experts estimate could cost between $20 million to $60 million, would end after the nomination, at which point the nominee’s campaign would absorb the cost of staff and field offices. It is being funded by a political nonprofit called the Strategic Victory Fund, whose donors are anonymous.
On Friday, the group planned to announce its national co-chairs: Rhode Island Gov. Gina Raimondo, New Mexico Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham and former Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe. Among the 14 groups backing it are the National Education Association; Service Employees International Union; United Food and Commercial Workers International Union; American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees; Indivisible and Color for Change.
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