Oct 11, 2023 - News

DreamWorks CEO's political operation teams up with Gov. Hobbs to launch Arizona PAC

A man stands at a lectern with a microphone in front of him.

DreamWorks Animation CEO Jeffrey Katzenberg in March 2016. Photo: Kevin Winter/Getty Images

DreamWorks Animation cofounder and CEO Jeffrey Katzenberg's political operation is joining forces with Gov. Katie Hobbs to launch a PAC partially aimed at winning Democratic control of the Arizona Legislature.

Driving the news: Arizona Communities United plans to spend money in legislative and congressional races.

  • The PAC will be filed with state officials Wednesday, according to Nicole DeMont, Hobbs' former campaign manager who still runs her political operations and will be leading the PAC's efforts.
  • The Arizona PAC is an offshoot of Katzenberg's federal Communities United committee.

Context: Katzenberg is a prolific Democratic mega-donor who's been ramping up his campaign activities lately.

  • He created Communities United last year for the Los Angeles mayoral race, where it spent $6.2 million — including a $1.85 million personal contribution — to help elect Karen Bass, according to a spokesperson for his organization.
  • It's unclear how much funding Katzenberg may put into the PAC. A spokesperson for Communities United said he may provide financial support but won't be involved in strategic decision-making.

Of note: This is the first state-level PAC Communities United has created for the 2024 cycle.

The intrigue: DeMont says she couldn't say whether the new Arizona PAC will prioritize legislative or congressional races.

  • There are more legislative than U.S. House races in Arizona, she says, but the congressional races are more expensive.
  • Hobbs in February launched her political operation with an initial investment of $500,000 to spend on Democratic legislative candidates, and DeMont noted the governor's top political priority is legislative races.

Why it matters: The Arizona Capitol has long been a Republican stronghold, but the GOP has had only one-vote majorities in each chamber for the past few years, and the battle for control of the Legislature next year is likely to be intense and expensive.

Context Republicans won both legislative chambers in 1966 and have rarely relinquished control.

  • The GOP has held the Senate since then, except for brief periods of Democratic control in 1977-78 and 1991-92, and during a 15-15 tie in 2001-02.
  • They've had unfettered control of the House since 1967.

Between the lines: Communities United described itself as "a group run by and for the emerging majority" of young voters, people of color and women.

  • "I am excited to help Communities United as they mobilize the most rapidly growing and influential voting blocs which are critical to Democratic success up and down the ballot here in Arizona," Hobbs, who joined Communities United's advisory council, said in a press statement provided to Axios Phoenix.
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