Joe Jacobson’s first memory of politics came from his grandmother, Judy Clark, who handed him a book about the Presidents of the United States when he was five years old. Since then Jacobson has been an advocate championing for change and an end to, in his words, a “corrupt political system.”
He recently launched a new political action committee, the Sedition Caucus PAC. Its mission is to utilize digital spaces, such as advertising and social media feeds, to lay criticism on Republicans who objected to the electoral college vote of President Joe Biden in swing districts and remove them from office, including Rep. Mike Garcia (R-Santa Clarita).
Jacobson, a 2017 UCLA graduate and Seattle native, founded the PAC after the attack on the Capitol Building by pro-Trump rioters on Jan. 6 and the subsequent objection to Biden’s electoral win by six Republican senators and 121 House Republicans. Jacobson began investing his time into running ads that target republican officials.
“There’s a lot of [politicians] picking on the ‘little guy,’ to say the least. I think what we’re doing is important because we’re standing up for people who are disproportionately impacted by the seditionists like Mike Garcia,” Jacobson said. “Whether that’s for democracy reform or kitchen table issues like health care and the economy, there’s always people out there trying to put themselves in a better position at the expense of others.
The group started launching short video ads in February to target different Republicans in hopes Americans will vote them out in the 2022 midterm elections. Garcia, who will be up for re-election next year after two electoral wins in 2020 alone, has much of the PAC’s attention.
“He is someone that is too extreme for the district,” Jacobson said. “As far as the sedition work goes, when you are crying about fraud and going after conspiracy theories, it doesn’t resonate with the district.”
Garcia won CA-25 in November 2020 by a slim margin of 333 votes against former Assemblywoman Christy Smith (D-Santa Clarita). Jacobson believed Garcia’s based his political efforts on the conspiracy theory that the election was “stolen” from former President Donald Trump.
“Mike Garcia’s voting record, when it comes to bailing out Trump and trying to stop him from being held accountable especially when he planned an attack on The Capitol, as well as his opposition to the COVID-19 [stimulus package] bill…we don’t expect Mike Garcia to become any less extreme,” he said.
While Garcia did acknowledge and congratulate Biden’s election win the day after the attack on The Capitol, he later tweeted in a thread that Trump’s historic second impeachment was “no more than political theater” and urged “my colleagues on both sides of the aisle to stop playing political games and start advancing good policy solutions.”
On its website, Garcia is listed among “tier one seditionists in competitive races,” along with Rep. Scott Perry (Pa.), Rep. Beth Van Duyne (Texas), Rep. Mike McCaul (Texas) and Rep. Richard Hudson (N.C.). The PAC is also a project of the Progress Action Fund, founded by Jacobson, on which he serves as executive director. The Progress Action Fund aims to make Democrats “go on the offensive” and not to “shy away from fully backing left of center candidates through independent expenditures, which stops Congress from passing critical policies,” according to its website.
Jacobson’s work in the past year also includes forming a bipartisan task force to “persuade the GOP-led San Diego County Board of Supervisors and the City of San Diego to allocate $10 million for free childcare for essential workers in response to COVID-19,” according to The Progress Action Fund website.
Since their founding, the Sedition Caucus PAC has received around $500,000 in donations, gathered via social media, email and spreading the word to those who are willing to support. The group is using the money to pay for the ads to make an impact. While the group has a small presence on social media, with almost 550 followers on Twitter for example, Jacobson believed the impact they have made on their audience so far has been valuable.
“We want to target persuadable votes, there were 10 percentage points in the district that supported Biden but also Mike Garcia. We think with digital targeting we can get these voters and encourage them to support the President and back whoever challenges Mike Garcia,” Jacobson said. “These are reasonable voters, we just have to show them Mike Garcia is not at all reasonable.”