A new super PAC funded almost entirely by a 21-year-old Ron Paul supporter and run by a 24-year-old political consultant is putting big bucks behind a tea party candidate running in a Kentucky congressional race.
So far, the group –– Liberty for All — has spent $542,600 on campaign ads supporting Thomas Massie in a seven-way battle for the Republican nomination in the northern Kentucky district currently represented by retiring Rep. Geoff Davis, R-Ky. In addition to backing congressional candidates the new super PAC has pledged to help Paul in his effort to amass delegates to the Republican convention — an effort that the still-optimistic presidential hopeful vowed will continue even as he suspended active campaigning on Monday.
Liberty for All's chief funder, John Ramsey, started the organization in Texas to support Ron Paul and sees super PACs as a grassroots organizing tool. His money comes mainly from investments he made along with his siblings, according to Preston Bates, the executive director of the super PAC. Bates said it has about 10 employees, including several who have been supporters of the Ron Paul presidential campaign. They represent “West Coast tech culture meets politics and freedom ideals,” said Bates. "We’re a group in our 20s and are fed up with how things have been going in the country and so we organized this super PAC.”
Massie, the super PAC's candidate in the May 22 Kentucky congressional primary, is the judge-executive of Lewis County, Ky., a post he won two years ago in his first foray into electoral politics. Liberty for All is responsible for by far the largest sum that super PACs have spent in the race. All of the outside money has gone to support Massie or oppose his chief rivals.
The race really boils down to two career politicians and Massie. While the others, Alecia Webb-Eddington and Gary Moore, have support from the northern part of the district, Massie is hoping to score with the rural and the tea party vote and is viewed as having a good chance at an upset. “There may not be a very large turnout and so the tea party vote could be influential giving Massie the best chance to win,” said Al Cross, a longtime political reporter and professor at the journalism school at the University of Kentucky.
Liberty for All pledges to support candidates who are constitutionalists, who won’t pander to special interests and not be professional politicians. Massie meets these criteria, says Bates. “Our litmus test for supporting a candidate is to see if he matches our principles and if he can win and have an influence,” he said.
Other than the Kentucky race and the effort to ensure that Paul has a voice at the Republican convention in Tampa, the new super PAC plans to get involved in several campaigns. Another race they are targeting in the Texas 21st congressional district, a seat held by held by veteran GOP Rep. Lamar Smith. Liberty for All plans on running issue advocacy ads with a “save the Internet” theme against the Texas representative, who sponsored Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA), derailed by opposition from online activists.
The super PAC, which launched its website just last week, is in the political arena for the long haul, Bates said, and plan to create several spinoffs, including a non-profit organized under section 501c(4) of the tax code, which will not have to disclose donors.