Obama-linked group charts path for midterm elections

Obama-linked group charts path for midterm elections
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Organizing for Action (OFA), a group spawned from former President Obama's presidential campaign, is getting set for the 2018 midterm elections with a plan to mobilize its supporters for top House races and state-level contests that they say are key to the party's push to gain clout in redistricting and liberal ballot initiatives.

The "Organizing for '18" plan, which will be officially unveiled next month, is the group's latest strategy meant to turn the energy the group harnessed during the Obama years toward making Democratic gains during the midterms.

The Hill obtained an exclusive early glimpse at the plans on Friday.

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The group plans to announce a slate of targeted Republican House members who they say have "been in lock-step with the Trump agenda to the detriment of their constituents" on issues like health care and the GOP tax plan.

OFA will also partner with the National Democratic Redistricting Committee, the group spearheaded by former Obama administration Attorney General Eric HolderEric Himpton HolderTrump official criticizes ex-Clinton spokesman over defunding police tweet Obama to speak about George Floyd in virtual town hall GOP group launches redistricting site MORE, to build an organizing program to spark turnout in some of the group's top targets.

The group is looking to flip state legislative and statewide seats to help the party have more control over the 2021 redistricting process.

The group says it will also mobilize ahead of ballot measures in states where progressive reforms are on the ballot.

To support the effort, OFA plans to work with its top volunteers to build out and train local organizing groups while rolling out a nationwide digital effort to drive voter turnout across the country.

"The nation is at a crossroads, and the moment demands an all-hands-on-deck effort ahead of these midterm elections," OFA communications director Jesse Lehrich told The Hill in a statement.

"For OFA and our network of experienced volunteers, that means utilizing our flagship organizing and cost-free training programs to boost grassroots capacity in key progressive races across the country."

The group hopes the push will give Democrats more muscle, as opposition to President TrumpDonald John TrumpHouse panel approves 0.5B defense policy bill House panel votes against curtailing Insurrection Act powers after heated debate House panel votes to constrain Afghan drawdown, ask for assessment on 'incentives' to attack US troops MORE appears to be motivating the party faithful across the country ahead of the midterms. The apparent enthusiasm gap between Democrats and Republicans is one reason why analysts and partisans on both sides see the House in play this year.

The initial plan does not include a specific emphasis on the Senate, which will be harder for the Democrats to make gains in thanks to an unfriendly map that has the party mostly playing defense.

OFA has sought to chart a new path now that Obama is out of office, which has so far consisted of organizing against some of Trump's most controversial moves.

There's been internal friction in the past between OFA and the Democratic structure, as some were frustrated about Obama's emphasis on the group that they believe took away from the Democratic National Committee. But the new strategy seems to be an effort meant as a partnership with existing groups and a way for OFA to lend its organizational strength and resources to the shared cause.