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Michael Avenatti’s Next 2020 Move: His Own PAC

Fight PAC will support candidates with “size and presence.”

Posted on August 24, 2018, at 3:05 p.m. ET

Avenatti in Iowa earlier this month.
Stringer / Reuters

Avenatti in Iowa earlier this month.

Michael Avenatti, the self-described potential 2020 contender and lawyer representing Stormy Daniels in her lawsuit against Donald Trump, is launching his own federal PAC to support Democratic candidates with “the size and the presence to really fight back and advocate from a position of strength as opposed to weakness.”

The organization, formed Thursday, will be called Fight PAC, he said in an interview here in between meetings at the Democratic Party’s annual summer meeting.

In the coming weeks, Avenatti said, he will begin making endorsements.

Fight PAC, which he noted will not take contributions from corporations, will also serve as a vessel for his continued political travel. This summer, the Stormy Daniels lawyer has racked up a list of visits to key primary states: He’s made two trips to Iowa, headlined a county picnic in New Hampshire, and keynoted a party dinner in Ohio.

Avenatti, 47, has become the Democratic media darling of the Trump administration. He appears almost daily on MSNBC. Democratic National Committee members here greeted him as a star. The political operative turned attorney presents himself as a candid, no-bullshit messenger in a party that lacks a clear “public voice,” he said.

While other potential candidates play coy when asked about 2020, Avenatti makes a point of stating in no uncertain terms that, yes, he is “seriously considering” a run. The prospect of an Avenatti campaign has been met by Democrats as both a feature of the post-2016 Trump spectacle and a possibility worth taking as seriously as any other ahead of a nominating contest that could draw a record number of candidates.

Avenatti declined to detail his plans for any forthcoming endorsements.

As he described it, the criteria for a Fight PAC endorsement has less to do with policy or ideology than with a candidate’s ability to communicate in Avenatti’s own mold.

“All you have to do is look at all the rumored candidates for the presidency in 2020,” he said. “We all know who they are. We all know who has all but made a public announcement to run. And yet when those candidates are asked point-blank, ‘Are you considering running for president,’ instead of answering the damn question, they distract and divert attention away from it.”

“I mean, this isn’t complicated,” he said. “I was asked, and I answered the question. Because that’s the truth. There’s nothing wrong with seriously considering it.”

Avenatti, much like other big party names, has emphasized the “fight” against Trump: There’s the group’s name (“Fight PAC”), his platform (“The Fight 2020”), and his message to Democrats in speeches and interviews (“Stop bringing nail clippers to gun fights”).

Asked whom in the Democratic Party does have the “size and the presence” he’s looking for, the attorney was not eager to throw out any names. (“What do you think about Kander?” he asked of Jason Kander, the 37-year-old former Missouri secretary of state who previously considered a 2020 bid but is now running for mayor of Kansas City.)

“There’s a leadership void in the Democratic Party,” Avenatti said. “Someone has to step up and be that voice. Whoever that is will have to be intelligent. They’re gonna have to be able to communicate with people. They’re gonna have to understand the media age in which we live and operate.”

“The chief opponent on the other side,” he said of Trump, “in many ways is a branding and marketing genius who knows exactly how the media works.”

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