Several primaries will play out today in Minnesota, Georgia, Connecticut and Colorado, but there is one race that is drawing the attention of the entertainment industry, that of Sen. Michael Bennet’s effort to survive a challenge from Andrew Romanoff.
Of all the congressional candidates for the midterms, few have received the same level of Hollywood support and attention that Bennet has, drawing contributions from such heavy hitter donors as Alan Horn, Haim Saban, Casey Wasserman, Ken Ziffren, Rob Reiner and Skip Brittenham, raising money at multiple events including a recent lunch hosted by Sony’s Eric Paquette. Bennet’s past as Denver schools chief has been particularly attractive as education reform is a signature issue among many entertainment industry activists.
But he could very well lose.
Romanoff has been boosted by the endorsement of former President Bill Clinton, which many are viewing as a slap in the face of the White House, which is throwing their weight behind Bennet. There’s dismay among Bennet donors that Clinton would support the challenger to a Democratic incumbent, but also suspicion over who orchestrated the recent New York Times piece on Bennet’s tenure as schools chief during the financial crisis, which was followed by a correction.
If Romanoff wins, there may be some fence mending to do among Hollywood fund-raisers, particularly in the short time period before the fall campaigns begin in earnest. After Labor Day, it becomes all the more difficult for candidates to depart from the campaign trail to raise money, and perhaps even more risky to go out of state to collect cash from the well-heeled show biz class.
According to the Center for Responsive Politics, Bennet has collected $160,600 from the entertainment industry. Romanoff has collected just $5,250.
Updated: Bennet wins, but it’s still uncertain who he’ll face in the fall as the Republican race is too close to call. He was helped by a heavy number of mail-in ballots.
Another update: George Lopez campaigned for Bennet in the form of a robocall he did for the DNC.