Democrat Grimes Raises Money in Hollywood to Fund Lagging Kentucky Senate Campaign

Democrat Grimes Raises Money in Hollywood to Fund Lagging Kentucky Senate Campaign

Trailing in the polls, Democrat Alison Lundergan Grimes is going to Hollywood to fund her lagging campaign to defeat incumbent Senator Mitch McConnell (R-KY) in the Bluegrass State.

Both the Hollywood Reporter and Politico are reporting that liberal Hollywood film executive Jeffrey Katzenberg, the former Disney executive and current CEO of Dreamworks Animation, will host a mega-fundraiser for Lundergan in Hollywood in the latter half of September.

Grimes apparently needs all the help she can get. Her June 30 Federal Election Commission filing showed she had $3.1 million less cash-on-hand than McConnell, and her limited number of recent public appearances are in part a consequence of her focus on raising money around the country with high net worth liberal donors.

In addition to Hollywood’s Katzenberg, Grimes has enlisted the help of far left wing Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), who has sent numerous emails asking for money in support of Grimes to her large and growing nationwide base of liberal donors.

A recent NBC News/Marist Poll of likely voters shows that McConnell has increased his lead over Grimes to eight points, 47% to 39%. The poll of 691 likely voters was conducted between September 2 and September 4 and has a margin of error of 3.7%. Though the poll offers some good news for McConnell, it does sound one alarm bell. Libertarian candidate David Patterson, a political novice, wins 8% of the vote.

The poll was taken a week after McConnell’s campaign manager, Jesse Benton, resigned in the midst of a controversy concerning financial improprieties that took place in Iowa during the 2012 Ron Paul Presidential campaign, where Benton played a key leadership role.

The Benton controversy, however, appears to have had little impact on voters’ perceptions of McConnell. Indeed, the poll showed that McConnell’s lead jumped four points — from 4% to 8% — in the week after Benton’s departure.

A Survey USA poll conducted August 27-29 showed McConnell had a 4 point lead over Grimes, 46% to 42%. In that poll, however, Libertarian candidate David Patterson had only 5% support.

While McConnell and Patterson are gaining support, the campaign of McConnell’s Democratic challenger, Grimes, appears to be losing traction with Kentucky voters. In need of money, Grimes is doing what most trailing heartland Democrats do when they need money: she’s turning to Hollywood. Specifically, she’s turning to one of Hollywood’s most far left Democratic activists, billionaire Jeffrey Katzenberg.

Katzenberg has been an aggressive fundraiser for liberal candidates across the country, who routinely trek out to Hollywood to pay homage to him.  In July, President Obama presented Katzenberg “with the National Medal of Arts, the highest award given to artists and arts patrons by the United States government,” according to the National Endowment for the Arts.

The award seemed to be a transparent reward for his political support. The Free Beacon, for instance, reported that “Katzenberg bundled more than half a million dollars for Obama’s reelection campaign and has donated more than $1.8 million to Democratic candidates, committees, and interest groups”

Grimes’ campaign appears to be eager for Katzenberg’s financial support. A spokesperson for her campaign told Politico “people across the country share the same feeling as the people of Kentucky.”

Equating Katzenberg’s political views with those of the people of Kentucky, however, is a long stretch. 

For his part, Katzenberg is all-in in his support for Grimes. Politico obtained an email sent by Katzenberg  to Hollywood’s A-List liberal celebrities in which he declared the Senate race in Kentucky “a pivotal election that can get the Senate working again.”

Katzenberg went on to portray McConnell in terms usually reserved for the villains in the animated films he produces. 

McConnell is conducting “outright obstructions of the democratic process,” Katzenberg charged, referring to McConnell using the filibuster “420 times to block legislation and appointments that were supported by a clear majority of senators.”

According to the Hollywood Reporter, “[t]he studio chief [Katzenberg] has not only declared Grimes’ election his number one priority of this electoral cycle but already has raised well over $1 million on her behalf. In this final push, Katzenberg appears to be pulling in support from all corners of the industry, including director James Cameron, who in recent years has been a donor to Republican candidates.”

Grimes is not the only Democratic Senate candidate making the trek to Hollywood in search of campaign cash from liberal donors.  Michelle Nunn, daughter of former Senator Sam Nunn (D-GA), and the current Democratic nominee facing Republican nominee David Perdue to replace retiring Senator Saxby Chambliss (R-GA), will be in Hollywood on Tuesday for a fundraiser attended by high profile entertainment industry executives.


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