Major Obama group will now push for Hillary Clinton
CNN Senior Producer Kevin Bohn
Washington (CNN) – The major super PAC that supported President Obama's re-election now will begin raising money to help elect Hillary Clinton to the White House if she chooses to run, the group confirmed to CNN.
Priorities USA Action is reaching out to major Democratic donors as it starts to build support for her potential run and plans to raise tens of millions of dollars to begin to lay the groundwork for a potential candidacy.
Also one of Mr. Obama's closest political aides, 2012 campaign manager Jim Messina, is joining the group as one of its co-chairmen. Not only will Messina bring contacts with some of the party's major financial backers, he also will bring knowledge of some of the campaign's most sophisticated digital targeting strategies to help Priorities. His appointment helps make sure Priorities will be leading the charge for Clinton as she decides whether to seek the Democratic nomination. She told ABC News she would decide this year and is working on a major memoir due out later in 2014 which will help spur more speculation about her intentions.
During the 2012 campaign Priorities raised $75 million making it the largest super PAC supporting Democratic causes. One of its most successful endeavors were attack ads it ran against Republican nominee Mitt Romney and his time heading the investment firm Bain Capital. The group is aiming to spend more than the $67 million it spent in 2012 on ads as it helps to rebut any attacks on Clinton. This marks an even earlier start in the multi-million dollar super PAC money wars.
Also joining the organization as another co-chairman is former Michigan Governor Jennifer Granholm helping to make sure Priorities is well-positioned to help lead Democratic efforts in the coming years with leading party figures leading the way.
The New York Times first reported the Priorities fund-raising actions for Clinton and its new appointments.
Last month the group brought on Buffy Wicks, a veteran field organizer and top staffer in the Obama 2012 campaign, as its executive director. Jonathan Mantz, an experienced national finance director for Clinton's 2008 presidential campaign, will join as senior finance adviser.
One thing political experts will be watching is how Priorities operates, as a separate group called Ready for Hillary is already raising money from smaller donors and growing a grassroots support network for a Clinton candidacy.
While some Democrats thought Ready for Hillary activities might complicate Clinton's decision making by publicly urging her candidacy, it has done very well so far in fund-raising bringing in $33 million last year the group said.
It has come under criticism by some opponents of Clinton. Stop Hillary PAC, which is aimed at preventing a Hillary Clinton candidacy, filed a complaint with the Federal Election Commission alleging the pro-Hillary group violated election laws when it rented Clinton's 2008 donor list.