Large donors are rushing to support the Democrats in the competitive US Senate races as they sense an opportunity to reclaim the house of Majority Officer Mitch McConnell and his fellow Republicans.
These rich fundraisers target the seats held by Republicans in Maine, Colorado, North Carolina and Arizona, which are considered to be overthrows this fall. They also focus on states such as Iowa and Montana, where Senate races are rated “skinny Republicans” by the online political analysis organization Cook Political report. Republicans have a 53-47 advantage in the Senate, as an independent caucus with the Democrats.
All the campaigns had to leave the track and become entirely virtual during the coronavirus pandemic. That didn’t stop the financiers from working on the phone, finding new donors, and helping organize digital fundraising events for their favorite candidates. These virtual fundraising gatherings for Senate candidates, said many organizers, have become regular events in recent weeks due to the ease and simplicity of setting them up via Zoom conference calls.
Campaigns and hosts no longer have to spend large sums of money on room rentals or catering. In-person events often targeted donors who were based in a particular city. With virtual calls, applicants have a broad appeal to donors across the country and, in some cases, to American citizens living abroad.
“Before, candidates went to high-cost multi-event cities, which excluded interested voters and supporters in cities like Scranton, Pennsylvania [Pennsylvania]”Julie Zebrak, political consultant and fundraiser, told CNBC.” Now, no matter where you live, supporters have the opportunity to hear and – most importantly – ask questions of the candidates they plan to support. ”
Donors’ renewed sense of urgency to win Senate comes as former Vice President Joe Biden, apparently appointed Democrat, enjoys a 5-point national lead over President Donald Trump in average of Real Clear polls Politics. Democrats are favored to keep their majority in the House.
“Overthrowing the Senate is just as critical as ousting Trump from the White House,” said Zebrak.
Donors believe that Trump’s response to the coronavirus could further harm him and his party with voters. “Trump’s chaotic management of the coronavirus and the drop in the number of polls gives us hope,” Nelson Crowins partner and congress donor Bob Crowe told Congressman.
None of the Senate candidates running in the overthrow states returned requests for comment.
According to people with first-hand knowledge of the matter, Jon Henes, partner at Kirkland & Ellis law firm, has started raising funds for Democrats competing in high-profile Senate races: Montana Gov. Steve Bullock, former Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper, Maine House Speaker Sara Gideon and North Carolina Army veteran Cal Cunningham. These people refused to be named because the moves are done in private.
Gideon is the favorite to win her primary and face longtime Republican Senator Susan Collins. Gideon has a slight advantage over Collins in the amount she has raised, earning $ 14 million in the 2020 election cycle compared to the GOP holder’s $ 13 million, according to the Center for Responsive Politics. Collins, however, has a great PAC that supports him and has a little more money on hand. The two candidates finance their campaigns on donor checks over $ 200.
Charles Myers, former vice president of Evercore, is co-hosting a virtual fundraising event at the end of May for Gideon with Alex Lasry, senior vice president of the NBA Milwaukee Bucks, said a close family member. of effort. The goal is to raise up to $ 75,000, added the person. Lasry is the son of the Bucks co-owner Marc Lasry.
Henes has become a power player in the Democratic Party fundraising circle since he was president of national finance for Senator Kamala Harris during his race for the White man. He also helps Biden raise funds for the campaign. Harris, who is often mentioned as a potential vice presidential pick for Biden, organized an online “Meet the Candidates” series for donors to get to know many of the candidates that Henes and his other financial precedents are helping.
Myers, Henes and a Bucks spokesperson did not return requests for comment.
Mark Kelly, an Arizona astronaut and husband of former representative Gabby Giffords, also overestimated his Republican opponent. Kelly seeks to overtake GOP Senator Martha McSally. In South Carolina, Jaime Harrison, former president of the state party, recently did the same when confronting Trump’s allied Republican senator Lindsey Graham.
The Senate Democratic Campaign Committee, the Senate Democrats’ campaign group, also outpaced its rivals, the Republican National Senate Committee, with fundraising totals in March. However, the NRSC was ahead of the DSCC in cash in April.
Zebrak, who also supported Harris, said she is now pushing people in her network to support Cunningham, Gideon and Bullock, as well as Amy McGrath, who aims to overtake McConnell in Kentucky, and Doug Jones of Alabama. , the most vulnerable Senate Democrat. this cycle.
Deven Parekh, managing partner of investment company Insight Partners, and former ambassador Jane Hartley, lead a fundraising effort in the Senate with other supporters of a joint big-fund committee that helps House Democrats, according to people familiar with the subject.
Since at least December, while in-person events were still taking place, Parekh and Hartley helped organize events for the Democratic Senate in New York, including one for Theresa Greenfield, who is running for Joni Ernst in Iowa; Mr. J. Hegar, an Air Force veteran trying to defeat Senator John Cornyn in Texas; and Cunningham and Kelly. The meeting, which featured Senate minority leader Chuck Schumer, has finished raising close to $ 1 million, one person added.
Parekh and Hartley continued to help raise campaign funds throughout the coronavirus pandemic for many of these candidates, as well as others in competitive states, the people added. They have close ties to Wall Street leaders, Blair Effron and Roger Altman.
Parekh declined to comment. Hartley did not return a request for comment.