Gravel to form liberal think tank after suspending campaign

Former Sen. Mike Gravel (D-Alaska) said he will form a left-leaning think tank that aims to help create a strong network of activists after earlier announcing he was suspending his presidential campaign.

Gravel's campaign announced Wednesday that it will be giving its remaining campaign donations to charity. The rest will be used to fund the new group.

“The DNC kept us off the stage tonight even though we qualified, but the #Gravelanche is not over. We're gonna keep going,” Gravel's campaign said in a series of tweets. “As the campaign ends, we're going to help build institutions on the left which can grow power, shape policy, and create strong activists for the long haul.”

The campaign added that the group will focus on a number of progressive issues, including “ending the American empire,” reforming U.S. Democracy and pressing lawmakers to put a stop to “injustice and suffering.”

“As an example, the Chair of House Oversight could subpoena every migrant in detention - throwing a massive wrench in an inhuman and decrepit immigration machine and singlehandedly forcing change,” Gravel's campaign tweeted. “Bold stands like the one Mike took by reading the Pentagon Papers into the record.”

These comments come less than a month after Gravel announced that he had received donations from 65,000 unique donors, meeting one of the two thresholds required by the Democratic National Committee to qualify for the June and July debates.

But the Alaska senator did not meet the polling threshold required by the DNC.

Candidates could have qualified for the debate by reaching either the donor or polling threshold. However, the DNC prioritized those who have met both criteria if there are more than 20 qualifying candidates.

In an interview with Hill.TV that aired on Friday, Gravel's team accused the DNC of conspiring to keep him off the debate stage, but said he was proud of the attention his campaign received.

“There’s no question that they conspired to make sure that I didn’t get into the debates,” he said. “I’m not terribly disturbed over that.”

“We received a lot of attention because of the uniqueness of two teenagers running a presidential campaign of the person who’s the oldest person running for president in American history,” he added.

The DNC did not immediately respond to Hill.TV's request for comment.

—Tess Bonn