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Indiana sisters with history of opposing Pence donate millions to Dems

Indiana sisters with history of opposing Pence donate millions to Dems
© Anna Moneymaker

A pair of Indiana sisters whose family controls the largest shopping mall operator in the country have poured millions into supporting Democrats in the 2018 midterm elections, Politico reported Wednesday.

Deborah Simon and Cynthia Simon-Skjodt have reportedly poured a total of $5.5 million into a PAC supporting the election of Democrats to the Senate this election cycle, as well as thousands to individual Democratic candidates in Indiana and other states.

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Politico reports the two have opposed Vice President Pence for years, ever since Pence was the state's governor. They are reportedly critical of Pence's conservative stances on health care, abortion and support for Indiana's law allowing businesses to refuse service to individuals on religious grounds.

"If you care about reproductive health care, which Debbie does, this is a guy who spent 12 years of his career" battling against causes she supports, a Democratic activist in the state told Politico.

“They’ve found they can help philanthropically, whether it’s supporting a domestic violence center, Planned Parenthood, or women survivors of assault,” former Democratic lieutenant governor candidate Christina Hale added. “But in terms of long-term need, and to set people up for success, they have to get involved politically.”

Their donations to the Senate Democrats' PAC and other combined contributions now amount to the seventh largest group of expenditures this political cycle, according to the website.

Other donations from the two sisters include millions to the political arm of Planned Parenthood, as well as organizations such as American Bridge 21st Century and the Democratic National Committee.

Democrats are hoping for a net gain of two Senate seats and 23 House seats in November to retake both chambers of Congress, though their lead on generic ballot polls has slipped to single-digits in recent weeks after polling higher towards the beginning of 2018.

A poll released Wednesday showed the party with just a 4-point lead over Republicans for potential control of the House in November.