Here’s a rundown of the most competitive congressional races that are drawing Hollywood donor dollars, based on figures from the Center for Responsive Politics and the Federal Election Commission.
Anticipating a nail-biter of a race somewhere down the road, Boxer has for years been amassing a war chest, with $711,612 collected from industry donors, including sums from events at the homes of Ron Burkle and Tom Rothman and a long list industry backers including Barbra Streisand, Hugh Jackman and Ron Howard. By comparison, Fiorina’s showbiz support has been scant. Her donors include Burt Sugarman.
Nevada: Harry Reid (D) vs. Sharron Angle (R)
Hoping to avoid the fate of Tom Daschle in 2004, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid is fighting off a challenge from Sharron Angle. Reid has made multiple trips to raise $436,250 at industry functions, including events hosted by Haim Saban and a CEO-heavy list of supporters including Michael Lynton, Alan Horn and Bob Iger. Angle’s support has been negligible.
Colorado: Michael Bennet (D) vs. Ken Buck (R)
Bennet, the appointed senator from Colorado, is a former finance executive for Philip Anschutz, but his tenure as Denver schools chief has helped him draw education reform-minded industry donors, including Casey Wasserman, Chris Silbermann and Eric Paquette. He’s slated for a Sept. 20 event at the home of Martin Shafer and Carol Fuchs. He’s raised $187,000 from the showbiz sector, compared with Buck’s $12,400.
California: Mary Bono Mack (R) vs. Steve Pougnet (D)
Mack has drawn more support from showbiz than any other 2010 Republican candidate — $121,050 so far — in part because of the legacy left by her late husband, Sonny Bono, who was elected during the Newt Gingrich wave of 1994. Although in a GOP-resurgent year Mack has a good chance of retaining her House seat, she faces a strong challenge from Palm Springs mayor Pougnet, who has collected contributions from David Geffen, Bruce Cohen and Nancy Sinatra. She’s drawn from Gary Sinise, Mary Hart, Philippe Dauman and Brad Grey.
Florida: Marco Rubio (R) vs. Kendrick Meek (D) vs. Charlie Crist (I)
Recent polls show Rubio leading, but the dynamics are different in a three-way race. With just over $100,000 raised so far from Hollywood, Meek has drawn contributions from J.J. Abrams and Katie McGrath and Clarence Avant.
Illinois: Alexi Giannoulias (D) vs. Mark Kirk (R)
This is one of the few races where both candidates have made strong appeals to the entertainment biz. With the aim of keeping Barack Obama’s former Senate seat in Democratic hands, Giannoulias has drawn support from Ken Solomon, Tom Rothman, Stacey Snider and Tom Hanks, while Kirk, who trekked to L.A. for an April event, has garnered Jon Voight, Lionel Chetwynd, Bruce Ramer and David Zucker.