Coinbase-Backed $85 Million Crypto Super PAC Sets Its Sights on Senate Races

By Decrypt March 09, 2024 In PAC Protocol
Sherrod Brown is a United States senator and Chairman of the Senate Banking Committee. Image: Shutterstock.

After spending over $10 million in a successful effort to defeat a Democratic U.S. Senate candidate in California earlier this week, a cash-rich super PAC funded by the crypto establishment is setting its sights on a handful of other key Senate races that could determine the balance of power in Congress.

The PAC, Fairshake, will focus the rest of its efforts this election cycle on four U.S. Senate races in Ohio, Montana, Maryland, and Michigan, Fairshake spokesperson Josh Vlasto confirmed with Decrypt.

Fairshake—which has raised over $85 million to date, principally from major crypto players Coinbase, Ripple Labs, and Andreessen Horowitz—will spend on ads in the Ohio and Montana U.S. Senate general elections, and in the Maryland and Michigan U.S. Senate Democratic primaries.

Ohio and Montana are both home to vulnerable Democratic senators up for re-election in states carried by Donald Trump in 2020—and both have previously made comments critical of crypto.

Advertisement

Ohio’s Senator Sherrod Brown floated a nationwide crypto ban in December 2022, amid the fallout from FTX’s historic implosion. During that same month, Montana’s Senator John Tester said he saw “no reason why” crypto exists.

Crucially, however, Fairshake has not announced that it will be supporting campaigns against the two senators. Instead, the PAC has merely said that it will have a presence, one way or another, in their general election races—implying Brown or Tester could still theoretically win the PAC’s support if they change tack quick enough to sufficiently pro-crypto positions.

Fairshake did not say by what date it will decide which candidate to support in the Ohio and Montana races, only that the organization is viewing the elections holistically.

“Among other considerations, we will evaluate a candidate’s leadership on issues important to the crypto and blockchain community, the viability of a candidate, the importance of the election, and our ability to impact the race,” Vlasto said in a statement shared with Decrypt.

In Michigan, Fairshake will wade into August’s Democratic Senate primary, where congresswoman Elissa Slotkin is leading the race. Slotkin, who has said little publicly about crypto except that politicians must disclose their own crypto trades, is facing off against multiple Democratic competitors including the actor Hill Harper, who previously launched an app designed to encourage people of color to get involved with crypto.

In Maryland’s May Democratic Senate primary, David Trone, co-founder of alcohol retail giant Total Wine, will face off against Angela Ashbrooks, a local politician. Neither candidate mentions crypto on their campaign website or appears to have made public statements on the subject in the past.

Fairshake has also not yet announced which candidates it will back in Michigan or Maryland, only that it will participate in those primaries.

With Democrats currently holding on to a razor-thin 51-49 majority in the Senate, any shake ups in those four races could easily tip the balance of power in Washington.

Flush with crypto industry cash, Fairshake’s leadership appears confident it can ensure that whoever wins come November, those candidates advocate for the creation and adoption of long-elusive crypto industry regulations.

“We’ll have the resources to affect races and the makeup of institutions at every level,” Fairshake’s Vlasto said. “And we’ll leverage those assets strategically to maximize their impact in order to build a sustainable, bipartisan crypto and blockchain coalition.”

Published on

Decrypt

View the full article

You may also like