Every two years, Chuck Schumer’s Senate Majority PAC and its allies come up with cunning ways to get Democrats over the finish line. The latest instance can be seen in Montana, where a group with virtually no online presence has already spent almost $5 million attacking the GOP’s preferred candidate, former Navy SEAL Tim Sheehy.
Last Best Place PAC, formed last September, has spent almost the same amount as Democratic incumbent Jon Tester has in his reelection bid, according to AdImpact’s tracking. The Democrats’ pro-Tester and anti-Sheehy spending more than doubles the GOP’s spending so far.
The group’s name invokes Montana’s unofficial nickname, but the reality is that Senate Majority PAC is the “sole entity funding Last Best Place,” they confirmed to HuffPost this morning.
The PAC’s aims couldn’t be clearer: derail Sheehy early on, before he even faces primary voters, and let Tester eke out another narrow win. Democrats deploy innovative campaign tactics for Tester in particular every six years — and yet many in the media are behaving as if this is the first time it’s happened, which national Democrats are counting on to make it seem as if they have nothing to do with this group.
While campaigns and super PACs can’t legally coordinate, Last Best Place PAC and the Montana Democrats are working towards the same goal. The super PAC is attacking “Shady Sheehy,” while the Montana Democratic Party is paying a DC-based group called Treasure State Truths with twelve likes on Facebook, to actively attack Sheehy and subtly boosting his likely primary opponent, Congressman Matt Rosendale, by highlighting his conservative record. These are the exact kind of mind games that Democrats deployed with great success in 2022 and before.
The Messenger published an “exclusive” about the group, in which it claimed “it’s unclear who exactly is behind the ads.” Except it is entirely obvious who’s behind the ads: the Senate Democrats’ campaign infrastructure. Politico too wrote this week about how “there are signs it is connected to the Democratic Party.” Hours ago, the New York Times said that this group “appears to have ties to Democrats.” Presumably those outlets can update their language now, thanks to HuffPost.
Evidence of the connections were there before that confirmation though: Last Best Place PAC uses Mountain Media — an innocuous, Montana-sounding group — for its digital services. Mountain Media, however, just so happens to share both an address and an agent, Meredith Patel, with Old Town Media, which is run out of — you guessed it — the Old Town neighborhood of Alexandria, Virginia. Old Town Media does extensive work with Democrats up and down the ballot across America.
Last Best Place PAC’s FEC filings also list Amalgamated Bank as its bank or depository. Amalgamated is a bank by Democrats for Democrats (and disgraced ex-Republicans at the Lincoln Project). It’s plugged into George Soros’s Democracy Alliance network and was called “the left’s private banker” by the New York Times.
The irony here is that the head of the Senate Democrats’ campaign arm, Michigan’s Gary Peters, has said that his committee won’t meddle in GOP primaries this cycle; instead, he’s letting Schumer’s constellation of groups do the dirty work for him. It’s an open secret that Democrats are salivating at the thought that Marylander-turned-Montanan Matt Rosendale, who lost decisively to Tester six years ago, will run again — hence efforts to attack Sheehy before the filing deadline.
In the previous Rosendale-Tester match-up, Schumer hardly hid his fingerprints, running ads directly from his super PAC’s aligned group, Majority Forward, to attack Rosendale.
Six years earlier, a group called Montana Hunters and Anglers Action mysteriously popped up with the sole goal of winning the election for Jon Tester. The group attacked Tester’s Republican opponent from the right and urged hunters to vote for the Libertarian candidate, which it pitched as the “true conservative.” It worked, and Libertarian Dan Cox’s 6.56 percent more than made up the difference between Tester and Republican Denny Rehberg. Tester didn’t even clear 50 percent of the vote in that election.
Montana Hunters and Anglers Action then turned around and outright backed Tester in his re-election bid after its obvious chicanery was exposed. Its most recent Facebook post is a November 2018 video touting Tester’s support for “Montana priorities.”
Next week, Last Best Place PAC will have to disclose its spending when end-of-year reports are due. It’ll be interesting to see how journalists cover for Schumer’s shenanigans once again — even when they’ve been publicly confirmed by the New Yorker’s political organization.