Dem Strategists Scrub Internet of South Carolina Failure

Super PAC funneled more than $750,000 to consultants' firms

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November 5, 2020

A Democratic super PAC that funneled more than $750,000 to its consultants' firms scrubbed its website as it failed to unseat Sen. Lindsey Graham (R., S.C.).

Lindsey Must Go PAC raised nearly $3.8 million in its bid to replace Graham "with a leader who will stand for something more than partisanship." Graham, however, went on to secure reelection by double digits, and the super PAC's website no longer lists its staff. The group's "About Us" page boasted a roster of "veteran" strategists with years of "high-profile political campaign experience" in the days leading up to the election. The page has since been removed.

Former staffers of Hillary Clinton, Mike Bloomberg, and Beto O'Rourke's failed presidential campaigns—Stephen Groves, Brice Barnes, and Tyler Jones—launched Lindsey Must Go PAC in May. Other PAC strategists include former MSNBC contributor Jimmy Williams and C-Street Strategies founder Alex Hoffman. The group promised to "defeat Lindsey Graham in November," so long as it received "every last retweet and dollar you can step up with."

The super PAC spent nearly $3 million as of October 14, with more than $750,000 going to consulting firms tied to its own staffers. Roughly $718,000 was funneled to PDG Strategies—where Groves, the PAC’s chair, works as a senior adviser—for "fundraising consulting" and other expenses. More than $35,000, meanwhile, was sent to SPEAK Strategic, a consulting firm founded by Jones, the PAC’s spokesman.

Lindsey Must Go PAC did not return a request for comment. Much of its activity was bankrolled by billionaire John Pritzker, who sent the group $1.5 million in September.

The group spearheaded a last-minute push to boost Constitution Party nominee Bill Bledsoe, spending more than $133,000 on mailers calling him "the only true conservative on the ballot" in an attempt to siphon votes from Graham. The strategy fell flat—Graham quickly launched his own ad campaign touting Bledsoe's endorsement, and the third-party candidate received just 1.3 percent of the vote.

Lindsey Must Go PAC was far from the only outside group that raised millions in a futile bid to win a longshot Senate seat. Ditch Mitch Fund and Fire Mitch Save America combined to raise at least $25 million in Kentucky, where Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R.) won reelection by 21 points. In Texas, Future Forward USA spent more than $11.2 million to unseat Sen. John Cornyn (R.), who won his race by 10 points.

In total, more than a quarter of a billion dollars was spent in the three historically red states.