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Joint effort by two Democratic super PACs raised $107 million so far in election cycle, groups say

Former vice president Joe Biden leaves after speaking in Wilmington, Del., on Tuesday. (Patrick Semansky/AP)

Two prominent Democratic super PACs working together to support presumptive presidential nominee Joe Biden have raised a combined $107 million so far this election cycle, $30 million of which was raised in the second quarter, according to new figures — signaling heightened interest among big-money donors in supporting Biden.

The two super PACs, American Bridge and Unite the Country, teamed up earlier this year to pool resources and research in support of Biden, with a goal of raising $175 million ahead of November.

Their work focuses on chipping away at President Trump’s support while presenting a positive image of Biden. The groups are spending millions on television ads in three states that Trump narrowly flipped in 2016: Michigan, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin.

Their alliance joins longtime Democratic strategists and operatives who serve as advisers for American Bridge with Biden loyalists who launched Unite the Country last year to boost his chances in the primaries. They share polling and opposition research and coordinate on advertising plans.

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The fundraising total, provided to The Washington Post, comes as wealthy donors have been consolidating around Biden’s candidacy to help him close the fundraising gap with Trump, who already has raised and spent record amounts for his reelection with four months to go.

In June, Biden outraised Trump for the second month in a row, thanks to fundraisers featuring high-profile surrogates that drew several million dollars per event. In addition, he has kept an aggressive virtual fundraising schedule, appearing at multiple events per week.

Trump’s reelection committees still maintain a large war chest of $295 million and are supported by a super PAC and an affiliated nonprofit that together have raised at least $100 million so far this cycle.

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America First Policies, a major pro-Trump independent group, this weekend is launching a $4 million national television and digital ad campaign touting economic and tax policies that Trump had put into place before the novel coronavirus pandemic, assuring Americans that those policies ultimately will drive economic recovery in the aftermath of the pandemic. The Trump campaign is also placing millions of dollars of ads in swing states.

Of the combined $107 million raised by the two Democratic groups so far, about $11 million is donor commitments from contributors who plan to give. The official fundraising figures will be released July 15 by the Federal Election Commission.

American Bridge has focused its efforts in Michigan, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin, working to erode support among those with whom Trump is increasingly vulnerable — white voters and seniors. Numerous national polls show Trump losing significant ground with those groups of voters.

Donors are rallying to maximize their impact as Trump grapples with the pandemic, the tumbling economy and unrest over police brutality, officials said.

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“We’re making the right appeal to the right voters in the right places at the right time,” Deval Patrick, American Bridge co-chair and former Massachusetts governor, said in a statement. “The voters we’re talking to are reconsidering their 2016 vote and sharing that disappointment with their friends and neighbors.”

Bradley Beychok, president of American Bridge, said his group had been messaging to those voters for months in anticipation of a moment when the message could sink in.

“You have to plant the seeds of doubt early, then you see current events catch up. Those seeds have been watered, and now you’re starting to see voters move to Biden and move away from Trump,” Beychok said.

American Bridge said it raised $22 million in June alone. It is cultivating prospective and current donors through private weekly webinars with high-profile speakers, including Dallas Mavericks owner and entrepreneur Mark Cuban; comedian Amy Poehler; former vice president Al Gore; and Jim Messina, former Obama 2012 campaign manager and adviser to the group.

A new super PAC ad from a pro-Biden group Unite the Country offers a twist: It’s positive

Meanwhile, Unite the Country has focused on projecting positive advertising around Biden, with ads that highlight his successes without mentioning Trump.

The group recently launched a $10 million ad campaign ahead of the Democratic convention in August, running positive digital and television ads about Biden’s work as vice president in the aftermath of the last financial crisis in 2008. The ads are aimed at swing voters in Michigan, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin.

“We formed this partnership with the goal of raising and deploying $175 million in an effort to elect Joe Biden,” said Lily Adams, spokeswoman for Unite the Country. “We’re more than halfway to our goal and Trump is on defense across the board. By pooling resources, sharing data and working together, we continue to weaken Trump’s support and make the case for Joe Biden.”

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