Hollywood doles out dollars for Senate Dems

Hollywood doles out dollars for Senate Dems
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Hollywood’s Democrats are ramping up their fundraising efforts for Senate races in hopes of regaining control of the chamber.

Democrats hoping to unseat Sens. Rob PortmanRob PortmanTrump talks big on trade, but workers need action Trump tax plan prompts GOP fears about deficit Overnight Regulation: Senators call for 'cost-effective' regs | FCC chief unveils plans to roll back net neutrality MORE (Ohio) and Roy BluntRoy BluntUnited explains passenger removal to senators Disconnect: Trump, GOP not on same page GOP senator: There will never be full U.S.-Mexico border wall MORE (Mo.) are among the candidates rushing to California to fill their campaign coffers.

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In an election year dominated by a presidential race, Senate Democrats hope to win attention and money for their contests with the high-profile fight to confirm Merrick Garland, the judge President Obama nominated to the Supreme Court on Wednesday.

“Nothing highlights the importance of winning a Democratic majority in the U.S. Senate more than the fight over a new Supreme Court justice,” Andy Spahn, president of public affairs firm Gonring, Spahn & Associates, told The Hill. “We are talking about generational change here, change that will outlast any one presidential term.” 

Since the beginning of the 2016 election season, Spahn — long considered Hollywood’s foremost political fundraiser — has met with a steady stream of senatorial candidates at his offices in the Universal Studios compound.

His visitors include Rep. Patrick Murphy (Fla.), who Democrats hope will replace Sen. Marco RubioMarco RubioLongtime GOP incumbent will not seek reelection Overnight Defense: Commander calls North Korea crisis 'worst' he's seen | Trump signs VA order | Dems push Trump to fill national security posts What’s with Trump’s spelling mistakes? MORE in the Senate. Murphy must first survive a primary election in late August against Rep. Alan GraysonAlan GraysonThe Hill's 12:30 Report Why Republicans took aim at an ethics watchdog Could bipartisanship rise with Trump government? MORE.

Freshman Sen. Gary Peters (D-Mich.) has come by. So have California Attorney General Kamala Harris, the favorite to win retiring Sen. Barbara BoxerBarbara BoxerAnother day, another dollar for retirement advice rip-offs Carly Fiorina 'certainly looking at' Virginia Senate run Top Obama adviser signs with Hollywood talent agency: report MORE’s seat; and Colorado Sen. Michael BennetMichael BennetTrump's FDA nominee clears key Senate committee Dems knock Trump on Earth Day Dem pushed plan for both sides to admit to abusing Senate rules: report MORE, the only Democratic incumbent in the Senate seen as vulnerable.

Others making the journey west include New York Sen. Charles SchumerCharles SchumerCongress has deal to fund government through September Angus King: Schumer is in a 'difficult place' Schumer: NYC should refuse to pay for Trump’s security MORE, Connecticut Sen. Richard BlumenthalRichard BlumenthalCongress eyes airline overhaul after United incident Dem senator blasts VA for outsourcing veterans suicide line Democrats exploring lawsuit against Trump MORE, Vermont Sen. Patrick LeahyPatrick LeahyHollywood, DC come together for First Amendment-themed VIP party The Hill's 12:30 Report Lawmakers talk climate for Earth Day, Science March MORE, Washington Sen. Patty MurrayPatty MurrayDems, not trusting Trump, want permanent ObamaCare fix Senate confirms Labor Secretary Acosta Dems unveil bill targeting LGBT harassment on college campuses MORE, Wisconsin Senate candidate Russ Feingold and Missouri Secretary of State Jason Kander, who is hoping for a chance to challenge Blunt.

Virginia Senator Tim KaineTim KaineDemocrats exploring lawsuit against Trump Overnight Defense: US moving missile defense system to South Korea | Dems want justification for Syria strike | Army pick pushes back against critics of LGBT record Kaine, Schiff press Trump on legal justification for Syria strike MORE, a Hollywood favorite, will be back in town on March 22 for a fundraiser at the home of entertainment lawyer Joe Calabrese.

His appearance is being billed as a chance to meet a man who could be Hillary ClintonHillary Rodham ClintonBiden: ‘Guys, I’m not running’ Trump says email hacking during election 'could've been China' or other groups Maxine Waters: ‘I’ve never seen anybody as disgusting or as disrespectful’ as Trump MORE’s running mate.

“Senator Tim Kaine is frequently mentioned as a top contender for vice president and this is a wonderful opportunity to meet him,” prolific Democratic fundraiser Yolanda Parker wrote in an email to Hollywood political figures. “Tim will fill us in on the dynamics of the Supreme Court vacancy (he has taught constitutional law and practiced fair housing law for many years) and on his travels in the presidential primary states.” 

Democrats need to retain the White House and gain four seats in the Senate to take back the majority they lost in 2014.

One race they are banking on is in Ohio, where former Gov. Ted Strickland won a Democratic primary this week to take on Portman.

Strickland will be in Los Angeles for a fundraiser hosted by actress Nancy Stephens and director Rick Rosenthal on March 31, according to an invitation obtained by The Hill. Ohio Sen. Sherrod BrownSherrod BrownTrump talks big on trade, but workers need action Dems crowd primaries to challenge GOP reps Battle begins over Wall Street rules MORE will be making a guest appearance.

In her email to fundraisers, Parker gave Strickland high marks on Hollywood issues.

“Ted played an instrumental role in the passage of the Children’s Health Insurance Program, expanding access to healthcare for millions of children nationwide,” Parker writes. “He fought tirelessly for veterans, the Appalachian region and working families. As governor, Ted championed the interests of Ohio’s working people at every turn.”

As for 34-year-old Kander, Parker said: “He has led the fight to clean up Missouri’s worst-in-the-nation campaign finance and ethics laws. Definitely a young man to support.”