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Democratic operatives form super PAC focused on getting out vote

Local Democratic operatives today formed a new state super PAC today focused on turning out Democratic voters in November, with a particular eye toward training people in urban areas to rally their neighbors to get out and vote.

Jim Spencer, a longtime Democratic consultant and the group’s chairman, said in order for Democrats to win in the state, they need to have an outsized focus on pressing people to go to the polls.

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Given lower turnout in non-presidential year elections such as this one and the short time frame between the state primary, Sept. 9, and the general election, Nov. 4, Spencer said the super PAC would focus on creating an on-the-ground infrastructure before Democrats have picked their nominees for statewide office.

“In Massachusetts, we’ve had some tight elections and some Republican governors [elected] and some of that is because we only have [eight] weeks between the primary and general,” he said. Spencer added that the PAC was an attempt to “get in front of that” and create an organization to maximize turnout, particularly in urban areas and communities of color, which traditionally vote for Democrats.

Tim Buckley, a spokesman for Republican gubernatorial hopeful Charlie Baker, pushed back against the new PAC in a statement.

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“It is not surprising our opponents are scrambling to find support in cities after they shut down access to great urban schools and have cut local aid repeatedly, starving these areas of desperately needed funds,” he said. “Too many cities have been left behind by one-party rule over the past eight years, creating real gaps in income inequality, and Charlie is working hard to let voters in cities know that he refuses to settle for the status-quo.”

Spencer said the group, GOTV Independent Expenditure Political Action Committee, has “some funders in the wings,” but he declined to specify who or what they are. He said he was not talking to any unions about funding right now, but the group would not turn away money from organized labor.

Super PACs can raise unlimited amounts of money from people, corporations and labor unions.

Spencer said the group would work on GOTV — an acronym for get out the vote — through postal mail, phone calls, and training people to go door to door in their neighborhoods.

Spencer noted that there was a parallel federal group planned.

Besides Spencer, three other officers are listed on the paperwork filed with the state’s Office of Campaign and Political Finance: Democratic campaign operative Afiyah Harrigan is the co-chair and Dee Dee Edmondson, a local consultant, operative and lawyer, is the treasurer of the PAC.

Super PACs, seen as shadowy organizations because of less-stringent donor disclosure requirements than candidates or other political action committees, have proliferated in Massachusetts in recent months and they come in all flavors.

Among those recently formed: one supporting the gubernatorial bid of Treasurer Steve Grossman; one focused on boosting lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender candidates; and one that could boost venture capital investor Jeffrey S. McCormick, one of three non-party 2014 gubernatorial hopefuls.

Also running for governor are three Democrats and two Republicans.

Joshua Miller can be reached at Follow him on Twitter @jm_bos.
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