The MaydayPAC SuperPAC is a SuperPAC like no other. It is crowdfunded with a single-minded goal of enacting “fundamental reform in the way elections are funded.” Between May 1 and July 4 of this year they raised over $6 million using a Kickstarter-style fundraising approach.
This election cycle, MaydayPAC is testing their belief that they can have an impact on electing people into office who will help bring about significant change in election funding by working with just five campaigns, carefully selected to meet a set of criteria outlined HERE. One of those criteria is that the victory would be both surprising, and understood to be tied to this reform.
Toward that effort, MaydayPAC has chosen to spend $1.5 million to help Democrat Paul Clements get elected in Michigan’s 6th Congressional District. The seat is currently held by the ultra-conservative corporatist Fred Upton, the powerful chair of the House Energy & Commerce Committee and a shill for Big Oil.
Here is MaydayPAC’s statement on what they are doing and what they hope to accomplish:
Today, MAYDAY.US – the people-powered “Super PAC to End All Super PACs” – announced a $1.5 million dollar campaign against U.S. Rep. Fred Upton (MI-6), calling the powerful committee Chairman one of the “worst of the worst” among bought politicians.
The campaign kicks off today with a new 30-second television ad documenting the $2.5 million Upton has taken from big drug, insurance, and related interests – while voting against allowing Medicare to negotiate lower prescription drug prices for seniors and in favor of allowing insurance companies to deny care to people with pre-existing conditions. “He listens to the special interests, not to us,” the ad says.
“Congress is broken because of its dependence on big-money interests, and Chairman Fred Upton is among the worst of the worst,” said MAYDAY.US co-founder and Harvard Professor Lawrence Lessig. “Chairman Upton took over $10,000,000 from special interests, and we will hold him accountable for consistently putting his big-money donors ahead of his constituents.”
MAYDAY.US is funded by over 60,000 small-dollar donations from Americans who favor major political reform. MAYDAY.US is planning to spend over $1.2 million on broadcast and cable TV ads across the district, holding Upton accountable. The group is also running a robust grassroots voter contact operation, a cutting-edge online program, and a direct mail program.
Upton is running against Paul Clements, who is running the most competitive campaign against Upton in over a decade. Clements supports the boldest reform in Congress, the Government By The People Act, which would match small-dollar donations and decrease the influence of big-money donors. President Obama won Michigan’s Sixth District 53% to 45% in 2008 and narrowly lost 49% to 50% two years ago. In 2012, Upton won reelection by the smallest margin of his career.
Here’s the ad:
This is a game-changer, of course. Clements is already running a robust campaign. They have gone on the air with ads of their own much earlier than any of Upton’s previous challengers and he’s raised $700,000, largely from small donors, which is more than Upton’s previous two opponents combined. They have solid GOTV effort and over the last two weeks alone they have made over 100,000 calls and had 5,000 conversations with voters.
It’s also worth noting that MI-06 is the highest Democratic performing seat currently held by a Republican in Michigan and one of the highest in midwest. It has a Cook Partisan Voting Index of R+1 and the district was won by President Obama in 2008 and by Mitt Romney by only one percentage point in 2012.
Upton, on the other hand, is increasingly unpopular and has received over $10 million in donations from special interests during his time in office:
This is deep red geography, no question. Fred Upton’s family even has a road along Lake Michigan named after them in St. Joseph. But this kind of support can make a huge difference and will send a strong message, particularly if Clements is successful. For all of those folks who have written off MI-06 as unwinnable, this might just change some minds.