Moms for Liberty: Despite nonpartisan claims, army of activists a political force in 2022
By: Zac Anderson and Sommer Brugal, USA Today Network-Florida
Most moms groups don't have a federal super PAC that can accept unlimited campaign contributions.
They also aren’t the creation of experienced political players steeped in years of school culture-war battles.
Moms for Liberty, though, is no ordinary moms group.
It’s the political group of the moment, one that’s trying to make a big mark on the 2022 elections and position itself as a juggernaut on education issues with the clout to reshape school policies from coast to coast.
Founded in Florida earlier this year by three registered Republicans who are current or former school board members, Moms for Liberty now claims 70,000 members across 165 chapters in 33 states.
That rapid growth is generating speculation that the organization – a 501(c)(4) nonprofit which doesn’t have to disclose donors – rose to prominence by tapping into big money, something the group denies, even as it paid former Fox News host Megyn Kelly to appear at an event.
Whether or not big dollars helped jumpstart the group, Moms for Liberty has big ambitions and is poised to ratchet up the partisan warfare that has been building for years around nominally nonpartisan school board races, injecting a new level of conservative activism into such contests that could spill over into races up and down the ballot.
The group exploded onto the political scene in Florida, and later around the country, by confronting school officials about issues such as COVID-19 restrictions and how race is taught. It now aims to replace many of these officials.
“We realized there was a real need and opportunity … to help families understand how best to advocate for their children … while at the same time help find elected officials who truly understand the need to serve families,” said Moms for Liberty co-founder Bridget Ziegler, a Sarasota County School Board member.
Like the Tea Party backlash to President Barack Obama and the rise of Indivisible “resistance” groups under President Donald Trump, Moms for Liberty may be the group that best embodies the current political environment in America at a time when education politics is preeminent.