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 PortmanSenate study: Trump hasn’t provided adequate support to detained migrant children Senators introduce bill to change process to levy national security tariffs A single courageous senator can derail the Trump administration MORE (Ohio) and Roy BluntRoy Dean BluntGOP senator pushes back on Trump’s attacks on Maxine Waters’s intelligence Pair of DC fundraisers aims to boost McCaskill challenger Kansas City mayoral candidate: Trump is trying to define patriotism 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 RubioRubio’s pro-family, conservative family leave policy promotes stability Dems make history in Tuesday's primaries Establishment-backed Vukmir wins Wisconsin GOP Senate primary MORE in the Senate. Murphy must first survive a primary election in late August against Rep. Alan GraysonAlan Mark GraysonThe Hill's Morning Report: Frustration mounts as Republicans blow up tax message Former Dem Rep. Alan Grayson to challenge for old House seat PolitiFact cancels Alan Grayson hire after backlash 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 BoxerKamala Harris on 2020 presidential bid: ‘I’m not ruling it out’ The ‘bang for the buck’ theory fueling Trump’s infrastructure plan Kamala Harris endorses Gavin Newsom for California governor MORE’s seat; and Colorado Sen. Michael BennetMichael Farrand BennetWhen it comes to drone tech, wildfire officials need the rights tools for the job NFL player wears 'Immigrants made America great' hat mocking Trump US farmers shouldn't be collateral damage in free-traders' crusade MORE, the only Democratic incumbent in the Senate seen as vulnerable.

Others making the journey west include New York Sen. Charles SchumerCharles (Chuck) Ellis SchumerElection Countdown: GOP worries House majority endangered by top of ticket | Dems make history in Tuesday's primaries | Parties fight for Puerto Rican vote in Florida | GOP lawmakers plan 'Freedom Tour' Senate Democrats should stop playing politics on Kavanaugh Montana GOP Senate hopeful touts Trump's support in new ad MORE, Connecticut Sen. Richard Blumenthal, Vermont Sen. Patrick LeahyPatrick Joseph LeahySenate returns to work on toughest 'minibus' yet GOP senator: Trump is ‘the only one in the government’ not paying attention to Russian threat to midterms Hillicon Valley: 'QAnon' conspiracy theory jumps to primetime | Senate Intel broadens look into social media manipulation | Senate rejects push for more election security funds | Reddit reveals hack MORE, Washington Sen. Patty MurrayPatricia (Patty) Lynn MurraySenate Dems press Sessions for records on racial discrimination complaints Dem senators introduce resolution calling on Trump to stop attacking the press Overnight Health Care: Drug price fight heats up | Skepticism over drug companies' pledges | Ads target HHS secretary over child separations | Senate confirms VA pick 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 KaineElection Countdown: GOP worries House majority endangered by top of ticket | Dems make history in Tuesday's primaries | Parties fight for Puerto Rican vote in Florida | GOP lawmakers plan 'Freedom Tour' GOP worries House majority endangered by top of ticket Kaine: Trump has made 'concerted effort' to divide people based on race 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 ClintonGillibrand urges opposition to Kavanaugh: Fight for abortion rights 'is now or never' Bannon announces pro-Trump movie, operation team ahead of midterms: report Fox News host hits Giuliani: Dossier isn't why Mueller probe was started 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 BrownThe Hill's Morning Report — Trump’s GOP feuds dominate ahead of midterms Dustbin 2020: The best Dems who surely won’t get the nomination Vulnerable Dems side with Warren in battle over consumer bureau 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.”