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As the midterm elections creep closer, a new PAC has launched to lend a little Hollywood muscle to key fights in several states.
The PAC, named OMG WTF, is focused on helping Democratic nominees for governor, secretary of state and attorney general try to land victories in six Republican-controlled swing states — Ohio, Michigan, Georgia, Wisconsin, Texas and Florida (the acronym for which is, conveniently, OMG WTF). Its goal is to raise awareness about these races through digital content and events aimed at the 18-to-35 demographic, and it has already hosted several gatherings in Los Angeles featuring live comedy and music performances.
That combination of entertainment and politics is something OMG WTF founder Ben Sheehan knows a bit about. The former head of talent at Funny or Die, Sheehan made a move into politics ahead of the 2016 presidential election when he became executive director of Joss Whedon’s SuperPAC, Save the Day. After the election, he went to work for Scooter Braun’s SB Projects, where he served as vp digital content, but politics pulled him back.
“A lot of groups are supporting House, Senate or state legislative races, but we noticed that top state executives weren’t getting as much attention,” said Sheehan. “OMG WTF spotlights the political power held by these executives in terms of checking the Trump administration and impacting the issues we care about. Over 70 percent of governors, secretaries of state and attorneys general are up this year, so it’s a chance to help a group of races too often overlooked by Democrats.”
OMG WFT has already staged a number of events in Los Angeles in the lead-up to Nov. 6, including a night of music (JR JR) and magic (Joel Ward) with Gretchen Whitmer, the Democratic nominee for governor of Michigan, and an improv performance from comedians Tim Meadows, Sasheer Zamata, Nicole Byer, Colton Dunn and more in support of Stacey Abrams, the Democratic nominee for governor of Georgia.
The group’s message is focused on helping explain to voters the importance of these state elections. For Sheehan, an especially important issue is that of gerrymandering, or the process of manipulating voting districts to favor a particular party. Governors have the power to block gerrymandering in many states. This year, 36 governors will be elected and, per Sheehan, 26 of them have the power to veto Congressional district lines.
“So if we don’t want another decade of badly gerrymandered districts, we need to elect Democrats to those 26 governorships,” he said, adding that “39 secretaries of state — including two lieutenant governors who act as secretary of state — oversee the elections in their state. Twenty-eight of those will be elected or appointed this year. So if we want most states of have fair elections in 2020, we need to get Democrats elected or appointed to secretary of state positions this year.”
Sheehan continued: “And attorneys general can sue the federal government over the constitutionality of laws and executive orders. In the next two years, they’ll continue to be one of our most effective tools in blocking the Trump agenda. In addition to the sentiment we’re all feeling, OMG WTF is building a secondary line of defense that can protect our democracy.”
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