After unveiling two new political action committees earlier this week intended to target local elections, the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) Action Fund has endorsed Democrat Moshae Donald for Mobile County District Attorney.
Donald’s campaign announced the endorsement Thursday morning, describing it as “the honor of a lifetime” to be backed by the SPLC’s political affiliate. She is currently only one of two Alabama candidates the SPLC has backed. Shelby County District Court Judge candidate Ashley Bell is the other.
“As a black woman who was born and raised in Mobile, the location of one of the last known lynchings in the U.S., to be endorsed by the very organization that was instrumental in bringing the Klan to justice in Alabama on behalf of Michael Donald’s family is truly an affirmation that I am on the right side of reform and progress,” Donald said.
The SPLC Action Fund says its focus is supporting communities of color — particularly in the Deep South —who face systemic oppression, poverty, and structural racism.
“The criminal justice system in Alabama is riddled with racial inequities from arrests, to over-incarceration to a broken system of fees and fines that too often prevent successful reentry,” said Brandon Jones, director of political campaigns for the SPLC Action Fund. “We must have officials – including district attorneys – committed to addressing these inequities and putting fairness before all else. Moshae Donald has demonstrated she will do just that, and we are proud to endorse her.”
According to a press release, the SPLC identified Donald as a candidate to support due to her policy commitments to leverage prosecutorial discretion for low-level marijuana possession as well as protect women’s rights in scenarios that could arise in the wake of the Supreme Court’s Dobbs decision.
Donald’s campaign did not immediately respond as to whether contributions from the SPLC-aligned PACs are forthcoming. According to her latest campaign finance reports, the only PAC money Donald has received has been from the Huntsville-based Persistence PAC for $1,000. Donald has called her bid for DA a “grassroots” effort, which is reflected in the fact the vast majority of her $54,109 cash contributions have been from individual donors.
On Monday, SPLC Action Fund President and CEO Margaret Huang announced the creation of the federal New Southern Leaders PAC and federal New Southern Majority Independent Expenditure Committee, or Super PAC.
Huang said the PACs will be focusing their efforts on local elections in Alabama, Georgia, Florida, Mississippi, and Louisiana, specifically races that impact law enforcement, education, and elections administration. Up to $800,000 has already been planned on supporting candidates in Georgia ahead the upcoming general election.
Former U.S. Sen. Doug Jones will be serving on the board of directors of the New Southern Majority Super PAC and will help it collaborate with the Jones-led Right Side of History PAC.
“Like many Alabamans, I have long admired the Southern Poverty Law Center for its tenacity to fight against the odds and bring about meaningful change that can still be felt decades later,” Jones said. “I’m excited to be able to work with the SPLC in my political capacity, and for our PACs to collaborate on building the necessary infrastructure to win in the South.”
According to the SPLC Action Fund, the New Southern Leaders PAC will recruit and support candidates who it deems supportive of racial justice and human rights. It will also provide staff training, resources, and technical guidance to help campaigns get started. The New Southern Majority Super PAC will make independent expenditures for candidates.
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