The End Citizens United grassroots organization hopes to ensure that its very name becomes a reality. The group was founded in 2015 in opposition to a 2010 court ruling that overturned voter and donor reform. This ruling practically gave the power over political elections to big donors. The ECU began with the amazing figure of over $25 million in funding and hopes to increase this number to $35 million before the 2018 election cycle.
One of the ways ECU is working toward its mission is by supporting Democratic candidates who support election reform. In the past, they have helped Elizabeth Warren, Rick Feingold, and Nancy Pelosi. The latest candidate that has garnered support is Conor Lamb who is running for the empty Senate seat for the 18th District in Pennslyvania.
Lamb is a 33-year-old former Federal Prosecutor and a veteran of the Marines. He is running for the seat vacated by longtime Senator Tim Murphy. Murphy stepped down amid talk of an extramarital affair and a request that his mistress gets an abortion. Lamb’s opponent, Rick Saccone is a 59-year-old former Intelligence Officer and past state representative.
Saccone has the benefit of large donations by such groups as the Congressional Leadership Fund and the billionaire Rickets family who has poured millions into the campaign. ProTrump group 45Comm has spent over $500,00 on the 30-second television ad. Mike Pence and President Trump have also scrambled to ensure Saccone’s seat is guaranteed.
Conor Lamb’s numbers surged when ECU came out in support of the candidate. Tiffany Muller, the president of the organization, believes that Lamb has strong roots in his district and his centrist views make him more palatable to cross over voters. Lamb is running on a platform that promises attention to better jobs and infrastructure for his constituents. He also promises to keep Social Security and Medicare programs strongly funded.
Republicans are focusing on this race, despite the fact that Trump won Pennsylvania with a 20 percentage point margin over Hillary Clinton. Since the Inauguration, Democrats have picked up 34 legislative and Senate seats, along with the win in a governor’s race. By comparison, Republicans have only managed to pick up 4 state legislature wins. Trump and his supporters worry about the trend toward blue and they are bringing out the big guns to support Lamb’s opponent.
ECU feels strongly that they must defeat the idea that the person with the biggest donors wins the race. They want the playing field to be leveled by overturning Citizen’s United power and influence. By supporting young candidates such as Conor Lamb, they are achieving their mission. The special election for the seat promises to be an important part of the long-term plan.