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BlackPAC rolls out Senate race endorsements for the first time

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BlackPAC on Thursday announced its inaugural batch of Senate race endorsements, as this year’s election cycle enters the home stretch.

The left-leaning political group that focuses on engaging and mobilizing Black voters across the country endorsed Democrats in four Senate races in key battleground states: Sen. Gary Peters (Mich.), Cal Cunningham in North Carolina, and Jon Ossoff and Raphael Warnock in Georgia.

“Obviously there’s a lot at stake, at every level of our government,” BlackPAC executive director Adrianne Shropshire told The Hill.

“But for us, the question is, thinking about candidates who hold the priorities that we hold and that our members and supporters hold, that are running in races that we think are going to be important to moving and delivering on solutions to critical issues facing Black communities.”

“We also look at places where we think that Black voters actually have the ability to be decisive in the races,” she added. “So our focus then is making sure that we are mobilizing every voter and making sure that voters understand who the candidates are, making sure that they understand what the issues are, what’s at stake and why we are actually engaged in any given race.”

Working independently of the campaigns it has decided to back, BlackPAC has established “large-scale” canvassing operations in Michigan, North Carolina and Georgia — the states where their endorsed Senate candidates are running.

While its canvassing efforts don’t extend to every state where BlackPAC is supporting a candidate, Shropshire said that the group has invested in paid media, including digital and radio advertising for all of its endorsements.

Michigan and North Carolina are both states that Democrats are hoping to flip blue after President Trump won them in 2016. Georgia, a traditionally red state, has become a battleground state this cycle.

A New York Times/Siena poll this week showed Ossoff in a dead heat with Sen. David Perdue (R), while Warnock — who had a meteoric rise in the polls late in the summer — led Sen. Kelly Loeffler (R) by 9 points and Rep. Doug Collins (R-Ga.) by 15 points. However, since Warnock’s race is a special election, the top two vote-getters will head to a runoff in January if neither receive 50 percent of the vote, which is likely.

Missing from the group’s list is South Carolina Democratic challenger Jaime Harrison. Harrison is in a tight race with longtime Sen. Lindsey Graham (R), chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee. 

Shropshire said that Harrison, who has recently set fundraising records, is in “good hands,” noting the broad Democratic support that he has already received and BlackPAC’s limited resources. The executive director said that the group wanted “to be able to put more behind the endorsement than just the endorsement itself.”

“In a cycle where the field is so wide, we had to make choices about resources and we also know that a lot of our friends and allies are supporting [Harrison] as well,” Shropshire said.

Tags 2020 Senate races BlackPAC BlackPAC Cal Cunningham Donald Trump Doug Collins Gary Peters Gary Peters Georgia Jaime Harrison Jon Ossoff Kelly Loeffler Lindsey Graham Michigan North Carolina Raphael Warnock South Carolina

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