In The Know

Hollywood floods money to key Dem Senate candidates

Sens. Raphael Warnock (D-Ga.) and Mark Kelly (D-Ariz.)
Peter Afriyie
Sens. Raphael Warnock (D-Ga.) and Mark Kelly (D-Ariz.) at a press conference following a policy luncheon on Tuesday, July 26, 2022.

With just months to go ahead of the November midterms, Hollywood stars are flooding Democratic campaigns with cash, aiming to ward off Republican challengers and hold the evenly split Senate.

The campaigns of high-profile Democratic Senate candidates in fiercely competitive races — including Lt. Gov. John Fetterman in Pennsylvania and incumbent Sens. Raphael Warnock (Ga.) and Mark Kelly (Ariz.) — appear to be getting the biggest celeb paydays.

In Georgia, a top target for the GOP as it attempts to net a single seat in the upper chamber to recapture the majority, most polls have shown Warnock leading his Republican opponent, former football star Herschel Walker.

Warnock also appears to be a country mile ahead in the race to capture Hollywood dollars, according to recently released Federal Election Committee data analyzed by ITK.

Among Warnock’s biggest entertainment industry donors: musician and actor Steven Van Zandt, who maxed out with a $2,900 campaign donation in June, and former “Two and a Half Men” star Jon Cryer and actor Kate Capshaw, who both gave the same amount earlier this year. Danny DeVito, Jennifer Garner, “Nocturnal Animals” actor Michael Shannon, Mark Ruffalo, Jason Alexander, mega-producer Shonda Rhimes, director Rob Reiner and Connie Britton are also among some of Warnock’s campaign cash givers.

While the ex-Dallas Cowboys player is a public figure himself, Walker has railed against celebrity culture.

“I think some of the biggest problems going on in our country today, we have so many celebrities telling people that they can’t do it. Telling a lot of people, ‘Oh, well, you got to feel bad for yourself, feel sorry for yourself.’ Which is sad to me,” Walker, who’s backed by former President Trump, said in June.

Walker’s support among Hollywood donors has remained tepid. In October of last year, shortly after Walker entered the Senate race in the Peach State, his campaign received a boost from one notable name: Mehmet Oz.

The “Dr. Oz” personality has faced fierce fundraising competition in his own Senate bid against Fetterman in Pennsylvania.

Fetterman — whose campaign has strategically utilized famous faces such as “Jersey Shore” star Nicole “Snooki” Polizzi and E Street Band member Van Zandt to mock Oz and highlight the Republican candidate’s ties to New Jersey — has received donations from Christian Bale, Ruffalo, “Doctor My Eyes” singer Jackson Brown and “CSI’s” Marg Helgenberger. Barbra Streisand, a longtime and prominent Democratic donor, gave $2,500 to Fetterman for PA in June, while Rhea Pearlman shelled out $1,000.

The federal contribution limit is $2,900 for a primary and $2,900 for a general election, for a total of $5,800 per person per cycle.

Performers are also opening up their purses for Rep. Val Demings (D) as she takes on Sen. Marco Rubio (R) in Florida in another key race.

Susan Sarandon gave $500 to Demings’s campaign in April, while actors David Arquette and Felicity Huffman both donated $250. Streisand chipped in another $2,000 back in February, and Van Zandt gave $2,900 at the end of June.

Kelly has won some star support since first taking office in a November 2020 special election. It’s money that will likely help to try to fend off a challenge from the winner of Arizona’s GOP primary that was held on Tuesday. Kelly counts “Better Call Saul’s” Bob Odenkirk, musician Peter Frampton, songwriter Rosanne Cash, former TV talk show host Maury Povich, Mary Steenburgen and Marilu Henner among his 2022 donors.

Tags 2022 2022 election 2022 elections 2022 midterm election 2022 midterm elections 2022 midterms Barbra Streisand Herschel Walker John Fetterman Mark Kelly Raphael Warnock Rob Reiner Shonda Rhimes Trump Val Demings
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