By Rachael Marcus, iWatch News by The Center for Public Integrity
Three Republican groups have formed a super PAC called “Crossroads Generation” and given it $750,000 in seed money in an attempt to attract the youth vote, a population that has traditionally eluded the GOP.
Announced Monday, the group was created by the American Crossroads super PAC, the College Republican National Committee and the Young Republican National Federation. Each of the three groups gave $250,000.
The organization says it wants to bring in young voters disillusioned by high unemployment and the national debt.
“Crossroads Generation aims to give a voice to a generation of Americans who are much worse off than they were four years ago,” said Derek Flowers, formerly of the Republican National Committee, who serves as the group’s executive director.
The Republican Party has not done well lately attracting young voters.
In 2008, young Americans favored Barack Obama by a two-to-one margin. Youth voters tend to favor Democratic presidential candidates over Republican candidates, though the gap was unusually large in 2008. Since 1992, the majority of voters ages 18 to 29 have voted Democrat in presidential elections, according to Surbhi Godsay, a researcher at the Center for Information and Research on Civic Learning and Engagement (CIRCLE), a research center based at Tufts University.
American Crossroads has raised $28 million for the 2012 election for spending on Republican candidates. The group was created by Republican operatives Karl Rove and Ed Gillespie. Super PACs can raise unlimited funds from wealthy individuals, corporations and labor unions to spend on advertising.
The other two founding groups report a membership of 350,000.
The super PAC debuted a website along with a Facebook page and Twitterhandle. Monday, it launched a $50,000 online campaign with ad buys in eight states targeted at young swing voters. It also plans to take advantage of the College Republican group’s presence on 1,800 campuses to promote its message.
Branded, “XG,” the splashy website asks, “Are you part of the Crossroads Generation?” and invites visitors to upload videos, photos and text stories about what it’s like being a young person in today’s economic environment.
As of Tuesday night, the Federal Election Commission had not posted a record of the group’s registration.