Messina joins Priorities USA as Clinton fundraising begins

 

Priorities USA, the country’s largest liberal super-PAC, has started to raise money for Hillary Clinton’s potential presidential bid in 2016.

President Obama’s 2012 campaign manager, Jim Messina, has been named co-chairman of the political action committee. Former Michigan Gov. Jennifer Granholm (D) will also help lead the operation. 

“I think the numbers clearly show that she’s the strongest presidential candidate on the Democratic side,” Messina told the New York Times. “And Priorities is going to be there for her if she decides to run.” 

Messina’s move had been expected for a while after The Washington Post and Buzzfeed reported in November that he had been in talks with Priorities.

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The Times says Messina declined to say whether he had informed Obama and Vice President Biden about his new position. Biden is considered another potential contender in the Democratic race, and could challenge Clinton.

John Podesta had also been in negotiations to join Priorities, which Buzzfeed reported in November. Podesta, however, joined the Obama White House as a top adviser last month. He previously served as former President Clinton’s chief of staff.

Priorities says it hopes to raise more money than the $67 million used to fund ads attacking Mitt Romney during the 2012 presidential cycle.

Messina says he would try to reproduce the progress the Obama campaign made in television microtargeting.

“Priorities did not have that ability last time, because we were on the other side of the wall inventing it,” Messina said. 

Other campaign veterans loyal to Obama and Clinton are also heading up Priorities’s operation. Buffy Wicks serves as the super-PAC’s executive director, and worked as a field director during the Obama campaign. Jonathan Mantz, Clinton’s finance director for her 2008 campaign, and Peter Kauffmann, press secretary during Clinton’s 2000 U.S. Senate bid, have also joined Priorities.  

Clinton has not yet announced whether she intends to run for the White House again.