EXCLUSIVE: A political action committee set up over the summer to endorse pro-cop candidates in the face of left-wing calls to defund the police is now endorsing dozens of local and state candidates across the country -- and has announced that it has raised close to $1 million as part of its efforts to get them elected.
“It’s unbelievable what we've accomplished in two and a half months,” Nick Gerace, "Protect Our Police PAC" co-chair and a retired Philadelphia police officer, told Fox News in an interview. “It feels like we’ve been around a year already and we haven't even really started what we should be doing, we’re still putting the foundation and structure in place.”
Gerace is one of a number of former men and women in blue who are spearheading the PAC, dedicated to electing pro-police candidates into state and local positions including governor, district attorney and state representatives.
Now, they are endorsing more than 40 candidates, with that number likely to rise in the coming weeks, in 15 states including New York, Georgia, Pennsylvania and Texas. The PAC says they have vetted each candidate closely and are focusing on not just pro-cop credentials, but on candidates they believe can win.
“We’re looking for strong candidates, we want to make sure they’re serious, we want to see if they also have a plan,” Gerace said.
Those endorsements include Justin Berry, a candidate for state representative in Texas and an active-duty cop, as well as Megan Heap, who is running for re-election as district attorney in Chatham County, Ga.
Most candidates are Republicans. However, Gerace stresses they are not a partisan PAC and have endorsed independents as well as at least one Democrat in Josh Shapiro -- Pennsylvania’s attorney general. But he said that not a lot of Democrats have sought the PAC’s endorsement so far.
“We’re not partisan, I honestly don't care what party you’re from, if you come to us with a strong police platform and you’re pro-police and you’re a good candidate, we’re going to help you out," he said. "It doesn't matter what letter you have next to your name when you’re running.”
They are coupling those endorsements with a $250,000 war chest, funded by what the PAC says are mostly small-dollar donations. Gerace says they are focusing on local and state races rather than federal candidates because it is at that level where the push to defund the police is gearing up.
“At this local level is where the grassroots effort is to pretty much break down our structure, our police structure and our criminal justice system, and it's very important that we get these candidates in there to stop that, to counter what's going on, because we’ve been caught asleep at the wheel and at these state and local levels is where these changes to defunding the police is happening,” he said.
Going forward, the new PAC already has its eyes on primary season next year, where they are relishing battles in places like Philadelphia, where they are hoping to oust District Attorney Larry Krasner.
Asked why he thinks the PAC has taken off so quickly, Gerace puts it down in part to the “meticulous” plan they have laid out for the organization’s development, but also a pro-police sentiment he believes is in the American population at large.
“I would say the love of our country and the love of our police -- it resonates in everyone from coast to coast,” he said. “And the climate today by, I believe, a very small minority being amplified through the mainstream media -- it's not true, it's not what people think, it’s not what they believe.”