Hollywood Stars Raise $1 Million for McConnell's Democrat Challenger

Hollywood Stars Raise $1 Million for McConnell's Democrat Challenger

The Hill reported on Tuesday that Hollywood “A-list” stars are donating to Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell’s (R-KY) likely Democratic challenger in droves. According to a third quarter report filed with Federal Election Commission, Alison Lundergan Grimes, the presumptive Democratic nominee in the 2014 general election for the United States Senate in Kentucky, raised $2.5 million in contributions during the three month period ending on September 30. Ms. Grimes, who currently serves as Kentucky’s Secretary of State, had $1.9 million cash-on-hand.

According to The Hill, “Lundergan Grimes raised a reported $1 million at a September fundraiser in Los Angeles hosted by [Hollywood executive Jeffrey] Katzenberg, much of it from celebrities.” This represents 40 percent of the total amount raised by her campaign during the third quarter.

Of this amount, more than $250,000 came from “at least 66 Hollywood donors — including producers, agents, lawyers and celebrities.”

The list of stars who donated the maximum $5,200 allowable to Grimes included Nicolas Cage, Jerry Seinfeld, Leonardo Di Caprio, Jon Hamm, Ben Affleck, Jennifer Garner, Cameron Diaz, Steven Spielberg, James Cameron, Mike Myers, and J.J. Abrams.

Ted Danson and Chris Rock donated $5,000.

Ben Stiller donated $2,500.

Barbra Streisand and Aaron Sorkin each donated $1,000.

Leonard Nimoy and Woody Allen each donated $500.

Actress Ashley Judd, who grew up in Kentucky and had at one time considered seeking the Democratic Party’s nomination to challenge Senator McConnell, was notably missing from Ms. Grimes’ list of Hollywood donors in the most recent FEC reports, though she endorsed Ms. Grimes in July.

Ms. Grimes is using the same financial team that helped Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) break fundraising records by tapping into Hollywood and a nationwide network of liberal donors. 

During the same three month period, McConnell raised $2.3 million. As of September 30, he had $9.7 million cash-on-hand.

McConnell also faces a Republican primary challenge from Matt Bevin, who was recently endorsed by the Senate Conservative Fund. Bevin raised $217,000 during the third quarter. As of September 30, he had $164,000 cash-on-hand.

According to the Lexington Herald-Leader, Ms. Grimes will continue her California fundraising on Tuesday night when she attends a private event in her honor hosted in San Francisco by Mark and Susie Tompkins Buell, long time national fundraisers for the Democratic Party and staunch opponents of the coal industry. While Ms. Grimes is in California, Senator McConnell will be attending a pro-coal industry rally in Washington, D.C.