A longtime Republican operative known for spreading anti-Semitic tropes about billionaire George Soros in 2018 is behind a dark money effort in Nevada to get right-wing voters to mobilize against Sen. Bernie Sanders in the state's 2020 Democratic presidential primary caucuses on February 22.
Tim Miller, also known for his work on the failed Jeb Bush presidential campaign in 2016, is one of the directors of the new company Center Action Now, which is targeting Sanders in Nevada.
40 years of dancing with the devil and all of a sudden centrist GOP voters want to switch sides so they can poison the Democratic Party too?— Nimrod Workman (@OctaveFilms) February 13, 2020
Thanks, no thanks.https://t.co/owBQExcGcw
As the Nevada Independent's Megan Messerly reported Wednesday, a Center Action Now memo details plans to mobilize right-wing voters in the state dissatisfied with President Donald Trump to weigh in on the primary to ensure the Democratic Party doesn't stray from the center-right lane.
"The voters we're talking to, they're not happy with the state of the Republican Party," said Miller. "They're not happy with the president. So we're educating them to get involved in the Democratic process so they can back a candidate they can be happy about and that they can support."
Thus far, Center Action Now has only run ads against Sanders and Trump and it's unclear whether the Nevada voter mobilization effort as laid out in the memo will come to fruition. But the group has plans to mobilize against Democratic presidential primary candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders in the state's 2020 caucuses, Miller said.
According to the Nevada Independent:
In addition to Miller, Sarah Longwell, a political strategist and another Never Trump Republican, and John Stubbs, a former official in the George W. Bush administration who founded a Republicans for Hillary Clinton group in 2016, serve on the nonprofit-s board of directors.
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Miller declined to provide any details about who is funding the group, its budget, or the size of its staff. As a 501(c)(4) nonprofit, the organization is not required to disclose its donors. According to Facebook, the group spent $13,280 on ads the day before and the day of the New Hampshire primary. The Nevada campaign, Miller said, will begin "imminently."
The group's attack ads against Sanders in New Hampshire used Soviet imagery and scare tactics around socialism to discourage voters from voting for the Vermont senator.
A brand-new #DarkMoney group founded by anti-Trump Republicans called "Center Action Now" is targeting New Hampshire residents with anti- Bernie Sanders messaging. https://t.co/HtrXDsPAHG #NHprimary2020— OpenSecrets.org (@OpenSecretsDC) February 11, 2020
In comment to Quartz, Miller said that Center Action Now's efforts to get out the right-wing vote were aimed at providing voters with choice, not to game the system.
"This is not akin to [conservative talk show host] Hugh Hewitt going on TV saying Trump supporters should vote for the weakest Democrats to help him—that's meddling," said Miller. "The people who we are trying to talk to are voters who don't like the president, who want him to be defeated, people who are concerned that both parties have succumbed to the extremes."
Miller's work for Definers Public Affairs came under fire in November 2018 after the New York Times revealed the firm was using anti-Semitic tropes about Soros to discredit left-wing activists on Facebook. The fallout from that scandal resulted in Miller being fired from his job as guest Republican on the Pod Save America podcast and Definers losing its contract with Facebook.
In an example of the revolving door in the political consulting world, Definers former chief executive Matt Rhoades, who also worked on Mitt Romney's failed 2012 presidential campaign, has since founded with former Hillary Clinton campaign manager Robby Mook the nonprofit Defending Digital Democracy Project at Harvard University.
Both Rhoades and Mook worked with the Iowa Democratic Party on election security in the fall of 2019, months before a malfunctioning phone app threw the Hawkeye State's caucuses into chaos.