VoteVets plans $45 million push to lift Biden and Democrats

February 6, 2024

VoteVets, the liberal political action committee known for supporting veterans running for office, will spend $45 million to back President Joe Biden and Democratic candidates for the House and Senate, reports The New York Times.

VoteVets is the latest liberal organization to announce its 2024 plans to back Biden and other Democratic candidates. Future Forward—the main Democratic super PAC supporting Biden’s bid—has a $250 million ad blitz planned. Last month the liberal activist group, MoveOn, revealed its $32 million program.

The centerpiece of the VoteVets effort is a $15 million project aimed at veterans and active-duty military families in the presidential battleground states.

The man whom Biden beat in 2020 and is likely to face in a rematch this fall, former President Donald Trump, slipped among veterans during his re-election campaign. In 2020, Mr. Trump performed a net 14 points worse among veterans and military families than he did in the 2016 election against Hillary Clinton, according to a Pew Research study released in 2021.

Trump still carried veterans, but his erosion of support followed an array of evidence that he had been disrespectful to military officials and families.

“While all these other groups focus on base turnout, somebody has to be able to focus on cutting losses with some of these core groups,” said Jon Soltz, VoteVets’ co-founder and chairman, in an interview. “Elections aren’t just won by running up the score, it’s by cutting losses, and Biden’s success largely came by cutting losses in this community.”

VoteVets, which Soltz founded in 2006 in opposition to the Iraq war, has grown into one of the Democratic Party’s leading benefactors. Soltz was a leading voice for ending the U.S. military presence in Afghanistan.

Soltz acknowledged that Biden’s handling of the Afghanistan withdrawal “hasn’t tested well,” but said that Trump’s support for the January 6, 2021, attack on the Capitol and his public fights with military leaders will be featured in VoteVets advertising.

To that end, VoteVets already has begun its campaign to amplify some of Trump’s most infamous statements about the military. Last month, the group spent $100,000 on an ad that ran in Pennsylvania during an NFL playoff game, featuring Gold Star parents condemning Trump for calling Americans who died in overseas wars “suckers” and “losers.”

In the 2022 midterm elections, only four other super PACs exceeded the $24.7 million that VoteVets spent on Democratic candidates: the main House and Senate super PACs; the League of Conservation Voters; and EMILYs List, which backs Democratic women who support abortion rights.

VoteVets had $11 million in cash at the end of 2023, according to its filing with the Federal Election Commission.

Research contact: @nytimes