A major Democratic Party mega-donor has switched sides this presidential cycle to back GOP Gov. John Kasich of Ohio in the 2016 presidential primaries, Politico reports.
Ron Burkle, a liberal billionaire with an eccentric lifestyle who’s friends with former President Bill Clinton and has supported former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in previous elections, will be supporting Kasich for president in 2016.
“John Kasich has secured the support of Ron Burkle, the billionaire investor who has been a prominent supporter of Democrats over the years – including the Clintons,” Politico’s Alex Isenstadt wrote late Tuesday.
“Burkle is slated to host a Jan. 12 fundraiser for Kasich at the Soho House in Los Angeles, according to a fundraising invitation obtained by POLITICO. The event is also expected to draw a number of other major political donors, including financier Gary Winnick and businessman Harry Sloan.”
Burkle, Isenstadt wrote, has given $475,000 to federal candidates—mostly Democrats—over his life. He also backed Hillary Clinton in her 2000 Senate bid in New York and supported her in her 2008 presidential campaign, which she lost handily to now President Barack Obama.
Burkle has an interesting and eccentric lifestyle, an image that’s not very conducive to helping presidential candidates woo ordinary Americans into voting for them.
A 2008 profile of Bill Clinton in Vanity Fair Magazine by Todd Purdum detailed how Burkle’s private plane is referred to by his inner circle of aides as “Air F*ck One” because he frequently uses the plane for—well, you know what.
The Vanity Fair article questions whether the former president would be “consumed by his own worst self. Bill Clinton’s lavish and extravagant lifestyle was leaving “old friends and longtime aides” of the former president “wringing their hands” after Hillary Clinton had just lost the 2008 primary to Obama. But it also had some interesting and revealing details about Burkle in the piece.
The opening of the piece set the scene for a wedding Bill Clinton was attending.
“Also in attendance was Ron Burkle, the California supermarket billionaire and investor who is Clinton’s bachelor buddy, fund-raiser, and business partner,” Purdum wrote. “Burkle had come with an attractive blonde, described by a fellow guest as ‘not much older than 19, if she was that.’ Burkle’s usual means of transport is the custom-converted Boeing 757 that Clinton calls ‘Ron Air’ and that Burkle’s own circle of young aides privately refer to as ‘Air F*ck One.’”
Kasich’s team has not immediately responded to a request from Breitbart News for comment, and specifically whether he’s proud to have Burkle on his team with this track record.
But ultimately this could end up being not just bad for Hillary Clinton—losing Burkle from backing her campaign last go-around is bad—but also for Kasich if Republican voters learn more and more about Burkle’s dalliances with Bill Clinton.