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DSCC - Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee

09/13/2020 | Press release | Distributed by Public on 09/13/2020 11:37

GOP Mega-Donors Hit the Panic Button on Losing the Senate, Pour Millions Into Protecting McConnell’s Majority [FT]

September 13, 2020 Press Releases

Major GOP Donor & Big Oil Exec Admits: 'Our Incumbents Are In A Bad Way, Even In Reliably Red States, And They Are Being Swamped… Democrats Have Been Able To Broaden The Map, Forcing The NRSC To Spend On States They Normally Wouldn't Have To'

A new report from the Financial Times finds that Republican mega-donors are giving up on re-electing Donald Trump and are instead doubling down on a strategy of 'protecting the Senate at all costs - even if it means sacrificing the Oval Office.' Some of the GOP's most prolific donors have shifted their attention from the Trump campaign to writing multi-million dollar checks to help keep Mitch McConnell as Majority Leader.

Here's how Dan Eberhart, a Big Oil executive and major GOP donor, explained the urgency motivating donors to funnel cash to Republican senators and McConnell-aligned Super PACs: 'Our incumbents are in a bad way, even in reliably red states, and they are being swamped by Democratic fundraising. Democrats have been able to broaden the map, forcing the NRSC to spend on states they normally wouldn't have to.'

'With vulnerable Republicans falling behind their Democratic challengers, it's no surprise the corporate interests and billionaires who have profited from these Republican incumbents running the Senate are now trying to rescue their losing campaigns,' said DSCC spokesperson Stewart Boss. 'The fact that these ultra-wealthy mega-donors are desperate to keep these unpopular incumbents in office underscores why voters will reject their toxic records attacking health care and hold them accountable for failing to put their states first.'

Financial Times: Republicans pour cash into Senate races as Trump trails in polls

Influx of donations comes as president's re-election bid struggles to match Joe Biden's fundraising

By Courtney Weaver

Key Points:

  • Republican donors are pouring an unprecedented amount of cash into some of the country's most hotly contested Senate races in a sign that the party's backers are increasingly focused on holding on to the second chamber in case Donald Trump loses the presidency.
  • Republican donors and strategists said the huge injection of money into the Senate campaigns at a time when Mr Trump is struggling financially showed many of the party's top fundraisers are worried about holding on to the second chamber…
  • Dan Eberhart, a Republican Trump donor, said 'some of the money that might have been destined for super [Political Action Committees] supporting the presidential campaign' is now 'headed towards trying to influence key Senate races.'
  • Mr Eberhart said Republican donors 'are getting flooded with calls and emails' from Senate incumbents facing increasingly competitive races against Democrats, who are also pulling in much more cash than they have in the past.
  • [Eberhart] added: 'I hope the polls have it wrong like they did in 2016. But . . . Republicans need to develop a campaign strategy committed to protecting the Senate at all costs - even if it means sacrificing the Oval Office.'
  • [Eberhart] added: 'Our incumbents are in a bad way, even in reliably red states, and they are being swamped by Democratic fundraising. Democrats have been able to broaden the map, forcing the [Republican National Committee] to spend on states they normally wouldn't have to.'
  • Several top donors - including Sheldon Adelson, the casino owner, Diane Hendricks, a Wisconsin billionaire, and Hushang and Shahla Ansary, a wealthy Texas couple - have not given money to Mr Trump since February or earlier but have recently funnelled cash to Republican senators.
  • Alex Conant, a Republican strategist who worked on Marco Rubio's 2016 presidential campaign, said the Trump campaign continued to receive an influx of small online donations but that 'a lot of the [major] Republican donors [are] focused on keeping the Senate.' He added: 'These Republican donors are heavily invested in Republican senators and keeping Mitch McConnell the majority leader…'
  • In the lead-up to November, many of the Republican incumbents are struggling to keep pace with Democratic Senate challengers.
  • In Arizona, Martha McSally has been out-raised by Democratic challenger Mark Kelly by about 50 per cent, while North Carolina Republican Thom Tillis is behind Democrat Cal Cunningham by roughly the same percentage. In Maine, Democratic candidate Sara Gideon has raised nearly twice as much as sitting Republican Ms Collins…
  • Katon Dawson, the former head of the South Carolina Republican party, said Mr Graham… was now in the 'first competitive' race of his Senate career. He said that Mr Harrison, who has raised $29m for his bid to flip South Carolina, had pulled in 'a staggering amount of money' for a Democrat competing in the traditionally Republican state, which was a 'real pain in the ass' for Mr Graham.

Read the full report here.

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