Dem Super PAC Spends Big to Boost Lawmakers Behind Controversial Abortion Bill

State Delegate Cheryl Turpin and Gov. Ralph Northam/ Twitter Screenshot
October 30, 2019

One of the nation's largest liberal super PACs is spending big in a last-minute push to help four Virginia Democrats that backed a controversial abortion bill.

Priorities USA has been focusing its efforts on five Democratic races in Virginia, including three state senate races and two House of Delegates races that will help decide control of the state legislature. The super PAC has donated $224,588 to Virginia Democrats in 2019. More than $88,000—40 percent—was donated over the last few days, according to the Virginia Public Access Project.

The radical abortion bill, which would allow abortion up until the point of birth, was presented by state Del. Kathy Tran in January. The bill was eventually defeated after it failed to garner majority support from state Democrats. But outside liberal groups are now pouring money behind some of the 22 co-sponsors of the bill. Priorities USA donated $38,444 to state senate candidate Del. Debra Rodman on Oct. 25, $26,365 to state senate candidate Del. Cheryl Turpin on Oct. 27, $15,941 to Del. Wendy Gooditis on Oct. 26, and $7,367 to Del. Hala Ayala on Oct.25. The super PAC has also donated $42,672 to state senate candidate Amy Laufer in 2019.

The Washington Free Beacon reached out to the campaigns of the four female lawmakers who benefited from a recent influx of cash from Priorities USA, but they did not respond by press time.

Back in June, Priorities USA announced it was partnering with EMILY's List, a PAC that aims to elect female candidates who support abortion. EMILY's List, which has donated $364,000 to the same four female Democrats in 2019, has endorsed 36 female leaders in Virginia. Priorities USA, which did not respond to request for comment, has called the 2019 Virginia elections a must-win for liberals nationwide.

"In Virginia and across the country, women are setting records by running and winning at every level of the ballot, but the work to expand economic opportunity and protect the right to choose is just beginning. That is why we are committed to supporting even more women who are running for office to turn the Virginia General Assembly blue," said Guy Cecil, chairman of Priorities USA. "The stakes are higher than ever, and we are proud to be working with EMILY’s List to elect Democratic, pro-choice leaders who will fight for Virginians’ rights in Richmond."

Polling shows that a majority of voters—including self-described pro-choice respondents—oppose late-term abortion. Terry Schilling, executive director of Virginia-based American Principles Project, said outside groups are forcing state parties to move further to the left, which could alienate moderate voters.

"By funding a slate of radical pro-abortion candidates, Priorities USA has indicated the Left's real priority this election—abortion on demand," Schilling said. "Despite clear evidence that abortion extremism is a political loser, the Left continues to double down on the issue. Republicans would be smart to take advantage of it."

In addition to the donations from Priorities USA and EMILY's List, several other outside liberal groups are flooding Virginia Democrats with cash, according to the Washington Free Beacon.

Everytown for Gun Safety, one of the nation's largest gun control groups, announced that it was launching a $550,000 digital ad buy targeting 15 Republican-held House and Senate districts across the state.

Planned Parenthood Virginia, another major player across the state during this cycle, is also receiving Soros funding. Aside from the Planned Parenthood Action Fund donating $507,500 to Planned Parenthood Virginia's committee, the only other six-figure donation to PPV is from Soros's PAC, which donated $350,000 last month. Planned Parenthood Virginia has in turn donated over $445,000 to Democrats so far this cycle.

NextGen America, the nonprofit founded by billionaire Tom Steyer, has spent more than $103,000 on nine Democratic candidates and has spent another $1 million in Virginia to register a minimum of 12,000 young voters.

Virginia's statewide elections will be held on Nov. 5.