Hoffman's Influence: PAC Supported by Reid Hoffman Contemplates Primary Challenge Against Progressives Tlaib and Bush

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Politics / Friday, 03 November 2023 13:10

LinkedIn co-founder Reid Hoffman's substantial backing of a political action committee (PAC) is raising speculation about a potential primary campaign against Representatives Rashida Tlaib and Cori Bush, both Democrats. According to Dmitri Mehlhorn, a political advisor to Hoffman, discussions have been ongoing with the Mainstream Democrats PAC regarding support for a primary challenge against the two progressive lawmakers. Mehlhorn cited Tlaib and Bush's critical stance on Israel's military campaign in Gaza as a potential motivation for the PAC's interest. If the Mainstream Democrats PAC decides to field primary candidates against Tlaib or Bush, it would signify a well-funded effort by influential Democratic donors to challenge progressive members. As a super PAC, Mainstream Democrats can legally gather unlimited funds from individual donors, with Hoffman contributing over $1.5 million since its launch in the 2022 midterms. The latest $1 million donation from Hoffman represents the largest registered contribution to the PAC in the current cycle, raising over $1.4 million since the beginning of the year, as per Federal Election Commission records. The situation is evolving, with Mehlhorn expressing optimism about the PAC's potential move against Tlaib and Bush.

The PAC's roster of top contributors extends beyond Reid Hoffman, with significant donations from influential figures. Deborah Simon, the daughter of Mel Simon, co-founder of Simon Property Group, contributed $1 million to the PAC last year, as per FEC records. Investors Daniel Benton and Paul Finnegan have each contributed $100,000 this year, according to campaign finance records.

Both Tlaib and Bush successfully navigated primary challenges during the 2022 election to secure reelection. However, Bush is currently contending with a primary challenge from Wesley Bell, St. Louis County Prosecuting Attorney, who shifted his focus from a bid against Sen. Josh Hawley to challenge the progressive Democrat. Tlaib has not yet faced a primary challenge in the current cycle.

Despite requests for comment, neither the PAC nor Hoffman have responded. If a primary challenge materializes, it would mark the latest instance of the Mainstream Democrats PAC opposing candidates within the Democratic Party. In the 2022 congressional midterms, the PAC played a role in defeating progressive Democrats, spending over $150,000 on advertisements against Nina Turner, who lost in a primary against Rep. Shontel Brown, D-Ohio. Additionally, the PAC invested nearly $750,000 in support of Rep. Henry Cuellar, D-Texas, who successfully overcame a primary challenge from Jessica Cisneros.

The Mainstream Democrats PAC is closely linked to the Democratic Majority for Israel, a pro-Israel organization with both a 501(c)(4) and a PAC. The PAC received a $500,000 donation from the Democratic Majority for Israel's nonprofit last year. Reports indicate shared resources, including a pollster and office space, between Mainstream Democrats and the Democratic Majority for Israel, both of which actively campaigned against progressive Democratic candidates in the previous cycle.

In conclusion, the political landscape surrounding Representatives Rashida Tlaib and Cori Bush is becoming increasingly complex, with the Mainstream Democrats PAC, bolstered by substantial contributions from Reid Hoffman and other notable donors, contemplating a potential primary challenge against the progressive lawmakers. As discussions unfold, the PAC's history of opposing progressive candidates within the Democratic Party, coupled with its ties to the Democratic Majority for Israel, underscores a broader trend of intra-party conflicts. The upcoming decision to potentially back primary candidates against Tlaib and Bush could signify a well-funded effort by influential Democratic donors to reshape the party's representation. The situation remains dynamic, and as the PAC and Hoffman remain silent amidst requests for comments, the evolving narrative emphasizes the ongoing tensions within the Democratic Party as it navigates the delicate balance between progressive and moderate factions.