Former Congressional candidate Kim Weaver will soon form a political action committee "with the sole purpose of taking down [U.S. Representative] Steve King and others like him," she announced on Facebook yesterday.
King's 2016 Democratic challenger ended her second Congressional campaign in early June for various reasons. She told Bleeding Heartland last month she was pondering several options for some $135,000 in unspent funds, mostly small donations from people outraged after King tweeted in March, "culture and demographics are our destiny. We can't restore our civilization with somebody else's babies." Her top priority was ensuring that the money would be spent in Iowa's fourth Congressional district, which has rarely been a focus of Democratic organizations at the state or national level.
King was in the news again this week for being late to speak out about the disgrace in Charlottesville, then drawing false equivalencies between the organized actions of white supremacist groups and heinous crimes committed by individuals who were not part of any social movement preaching hate and violence. Weaver shared with her Facebook friends on August 17,
I wanted to save this announcement until we were ready to launch, but I think is is important to tell you now. In the next two weeks I will launch a Progressive PAC with the sole purpose of taking down Steve King and others like him. The time is now for REAL patriots to stand up and say, "enough is enough".
Weaver had also considered donating most of the unspent funds to the Iowa Democratic Party or to local party organizations in IA-04's 39 counties. What drove her to create a PAC instead? She told me yesterday,
I wanted to make sure ALL the money I raised when to defeat King. I've heard rumblings from people in the party that if I gave it to the IDP they shouldn't put it into the 4th. I've had people ask me what I was going to do with "my" money. It isn't my money and never has been. It was money donated to take down King. My finance people have been contacting donors about refunding them and many have told them to keep it and use it against King. That is what we will be doing.
We have a few debts to pay and refunds before we close the committee, but we should have at least $100K to put into the new committee. Again, it is important to me that the $100K goes to fight King.
I wondered whether Weaver plans to leave her position with the state's Long-Term Care Ombudsman to run the new PAC.
I'm staying in my current job for as long as I can. I love what I do and want to keep doing it. It may not be my choice however because we have a new Director [of the Iowa Department of Aging] and will be getting a new State Long-Term Care Ombudsman.
Does she anticipate hiring staff for the PAC to handle fundraising or strategizing about spending the money on advertising or field organizers?
That will depend on how much money we raise. At this point I will need to pay a compliance officer to file the reports. I would LOVE to raise enough money that I could launch the field plan I wanted to do when I was running.
During my run, I saw how politics is such a business (even with Democrats) and there are so many consultants that really only want a paycheck and dont care who wins and who loses.
I have my own strategy on how to use the money. I don't need to use the people's money to hire people to tell me what I need to. The majority of the money will go to ads at this point. If we raise the money I would like to, we will have a field program.
Because of IA-04's strong Republican tilt, PACs and other groups that seek to influence elections have typically not been as involved here, compared to Iowa's first and third Congressional districts. During the entire 2016 election cycle, progressive or Democratic organizations spent almost no money against King, but devoted more than $1.7 million to targeting Representative Rod Blum (IA-01) and nearly $3.4 million to the race against Representative David Young (IA-03).
The only time King faced significant opposition from PACs was in 2012, when he was seeking re-election in a substantially redrawn district and had a high-profile opponent in former Iowa First Lady Christie Vilsack. Most of that funding (totaling some $2 million) went toward advertising or direct mail, though CREDO Mobile Super PAC spent $83,875 on a "Take Down Steve King" campaign with a focus on field organizers.
Two candidates are seeking the Democratic nomination in IA-04: J.D. Scholten and Leann Jacobsen. Some readers have asked why Weaver doesn't simply transfer her unspent funds to King's eventual opponent. Federal law restricts such donations to $2,000 before the primary and $2,000 after the primary.
According to the latest figures from the Iowa Secretary of State’s office, the 39 counties in IA-04 contain 118,772 active registered Democrats, 191,227 Republicans, and 172,771 no-party voters.
UPDATE: Weaver filed Federal Election Commission paperwork on August 28 to create the PAC for Progressives Organizing to Win Every Race (PAC for POWER). She commented on Facebook the same day, "I plan to take King down in 2018 and then move on to defeat others in 2020."