Ex-GOP donor urges support for Dems in midterms: ‘Democracy is at stake’

Former GOP mega-donor Seth Klarman urged voters to support Democrats in the coming midterm elections and said in a recent interview that he believes “democracy is at stake.”

“One of the reasons I’m willing to come out of my shell and talk to you is because I think democracy is at stake,” Klarman said in an interview with The New York Times published on Saturday. “And maybe I’ll be able to convince some other people of that. And get them to support Democrats in 2018.”

Klarman, who was previously one of the biggest donors to the Republican Party in New England, told The Times he has donated $4.9 million to nearly 150 candidates.

Some of the Democratic candidates who have received Klarman’s cash in this election cycle alone are Massachusetts Rep. Joe Kennedy III (D), Texas Senate candidate Rep. Beto O’Rourke and Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.), a potential presidential candidate. But, as Klarman puts it: “I’m not a Democrat.”{mosads}

“We need to turn the House and Senate as a check on Donald Trump and his runaway presidency,” Klarman, who donated more than $2.9 million to Republicans in the 2016 election cycle, said.

The hedge funder said he feels “betrayed” by “spineless” Republicans who he says have been “profiles in cowardice.” Now, Klarman says the only option is to “act as a check and balance.”

“If one looks at my past giving, one might think that several million, 5 or 6 million, might be a lot in a cycle,” Klarman said. But he added that he is “stretching far beyond what I usually do” in the current cycle. 

“By the election I think I’ll have spent between $18 and $20 million,” he continued, which would make him one of the top donors for the Democratic Party this year.

“Think of it this way,” Brendan Quinn of the Center for Responsive Politics told the Times. “As of August, George Soros has given $12 million. I have no way of knowing how much more he’ll contribute this cycle, but it’s entirely possible that Klarman could end up giving more than him.”

Klarman called the current state of Washington an “emergency” and suggested voters consider the price tag for democracy in the coming midterm elections. “It seems like the answer should be a huge amount,” Klarman said.

Klarman, who has a history of slamming President Trump, also accused Republicans of giving a huge tax cut “largely to rich people” and slammed them because they “were supposed to be the fiscally responsible party.”

“Whatever irresponsible fiscal things the Democrats do won’t be worse than what the Republicans have already done,” Klarman said.

Though Klarman said his interview with the Times “could conceivably upset a few of my clients,” he added that “it’s more important that I do what my conscience requires by speaking out.”

“There are things more important than making money,” Klarman concluded.

Tags Donald Trump Joe Kennedy Kirsten Gillibrand
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