There’s a new super PAC in town, focused on boosting lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender candidates, as well as politicians who support “LGBT equality.”
Local operatives formed The Massachusetts Spirit Independent Expenditure Political Action Committee late last week.
“We are building a grassroots organization to support LGBT candidates, to oppose foes of the LGBT community, and to support the allies that have stood with us,” said Kevin Franck, the PAC’s chairman and a former communications director of state Democratic party.
The impetus for the group, said its treasurer, Dee Dee Edmonson, was the dearth of state organizations devoted to LGBT candidates.
“We saw a need. We sought to fill it,” said Edmonson, a long-time political operative and consultant in Massachusetts. “There’s just not a lot of support out there for LGBT candidates.”
She said the group sees candidate support for LGBT equality as much broader than just backing for gay marriage, which has been legal in Massachusetts for more than a decade. The group will be looking for candidates who back issues such as equality for transgender people, and support and funding for programs that help LBGT youth, she said.
Asked whether the PAC planned to exclusively support Democrats, Edmonson said it that had not yet been determined, while noting there were very few Republicans in the state.
The group is part of a class of political action committees known as super PACs that can raise money without limit from people, labor unions, and corporations. These groups do not have to abide by the same rigorous campaign finance disclosure rules as candidates so the PACs’ donors remain opaque for longer.
But Franck said this super PAC was not like some of the others.
“This is an exciting chance to use a super PAC for non-evil purposes,” he said. “The campaign finance laws are so rapidly changing, the organizational shell of a super PAC gives us the opportunity to affect races in the most flexible way.”
While he said there were some financial commitments lined up, Franck did not disclose them. He said, however, the group is “not a shadowy super PAC with millionaires working in the wings.”
Franck said the group planned to get involved in races where there is a “clear distinction between the candidates” on LGBT issues, but did not offer any names. He said it would focus exclusively on state races, eschewing involvement in congressional contests.
As for how the PAC plans to get involved and whether it would air television advertisements, Franck said, “at this point, everything is on the table.”
Among the openly gay candidates running for state office in 2014: Democrat Maura Healey, who hopes to become the next attorney general; and Democrat Steve Kerrigan, who is running for lieutenant governor.
A spokesman for both said Healey would be the first openly gay attorney general in the country if she wins and Kerrigan would be the first openly gay lieutenant governor if he wins.