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 PortmanRobert (Rob) Jones PortmanFlake's anti-Trump speech will make a lot of noise, but not much sense Top GOP candidate drops out of Ohio Senate race Overnight Tech: Regulators to look at trading in bitcoin futures | Computer chip flaws present new security problem | Zuckerberg vows to improve Facebook in 2018 MORE (Ohio) and Roy BluntRoy Dean BluntGOP senators eager for Romney to join them Senate GOP wary of ending Russia probes, despite pressure GOP on precipice of major end-of-year tax victory 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 Antonio RubioOvernight Cybersecurity: Bipartisan bill aims to deter election interference | Russian hackers target Senate | House Intel panel subpoenas Bannon | DHS giving 'active defense' cyber tools to private sector Senators unveil bipartisan push to deter future election interference Puerto Rico's children need recovery funds MORE in the Senate. Murphy must first survive a primary election in late August against Rep. Alan GraysonAlan Mark GraysonEighth Franken accuser comes forward as Dems call for resignation Pennsylania Dems file ethics complaint against Rep. Barletta The Hill's 12:30 Report 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 Levy BoxerDems face hard choice for State of the Union response Billionaire Steyer to push for Dem House push Billionaire Steyer announces million for Dem House push MORE’s seat; and Colorado Sen. Michael BennetMichael Farrand BennetDurbin: Senators to release immigration bill Wednesday Trump's 's---hole' controversy shows no sign of easing Dem senator: 'No question' Trump's 's---hole countries' comment is racist MORE, the only Democratic incumbent in the Senate seen as vulnerable.

Others making the journey west include New York Sen. Charles SchumerCharles (Chuck) Ellis SchumerDemocrats will need to explain if they shut government down over illegal immigration White House: Trump remarks didn't derail shutdown talks Schumer defends Durbin after GOP senator questions account of Trump meeting MORE, Connecticut Sen. Richard Blumenthal, Vermont Sen. Patrick LeahyPatrick Joseph LeahyNSA spying program overcomes key Senate hurdle McConnell to Dems: Don't hold government 'hostage' over DACA Nielsen acknowledges Trump used 'tough language' in immigration meeting MORE, Washington Sen. Patty MurrayPatricia (Patty) Lynn MurrayCDC director to miss fourth hearing because of potential ethics issues Week ahead: Lawmakers near deal on children's health funding Ryan suggests room for bipartisanship on ObamaCare 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 KaineTimothy (Tim) Michael KaineSenate campaign fundraising reports roll in Afghanistan moves reignite war authorization debate Ralph Northam sworn in as Virginia governor 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 Diane Rodham ClintonIntel Dem decries White House 'gag order' after Bannon testimony 'Total free-for-all' as Bannon clashes with Intel members Mellman: On Political Authenticity (Part 2) 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 Campbell BrownSenate campaign fundraising reports roll in Commerce sends Trump long-awaited steel report GOP Rep. Jim Renacci announces Ohio Senate bid 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.”