Bulletin
Investor Alert

New York Markets Open in:

Associated Press Archives | Email alerts

Jan. 16, 2021, 4:02 p.m. EST

Donor backlash fuels GOP alarm about Senate fundraising

new
Watchlist Relevance
LEARN MORE

Want to see how this story relates to your watchlist?

Just add items to create a watchlist now:

  • X
    AT&T Inc. (T)
  • X
    Nike Inc. Cl B (NKE)
  • X
    Comcast Corp. Cl A (CMCSA)

or Cancel Already have a watchlist? Log In

Associated Press

Republicans are worried that a corporate backlash stirred by the deadly Capitol insurrection could crimp a vital stream of campaign cash, complicating the party’s prospects of retaking the Senate in the next election.

The GOP already faces a difficult Senate map in 2022, when 14 Democratic-held seats and 20 Republican ones will be on the ballot. That includes at least two open seats that Republicans will be defending because of the retirements of GOP Sens. Pat Toomey of Pennsylvania and Richard Burr of North Carolina.

But some in the party say the problem may be bigger than the map. Eight Republican senators voted to reject Electoral College votes for President-elect Joe Biden, even after the ransacking of the Capitol by a mob of Donald Trump supporters who were exhorted by the president to stop Congress from certifying Biden’s victory. Five people died in the mayhem, including a Capitol Police officer.

Recriminations were swift, with more than a dozen corporate giants — including AT&T /zigman2/quotes/203165245/composite T +0.70% , Nike /zigman2/quotes/203439053/composite NKE -1.65% , Comcast /zigman2/quotes/209472081/composite CMCSA +0.37% , Dow /zigman2/quotes/203121064/composite DOW -1.69% , Marriott /zigman2/quotes/200170042/composite MAR -1.05% , Walmart /zigman2/quotes/207374728/composite WMT -0.05% and Verizon /zigman2/quotes/204980236/composite VZ -1.05% — pledging to withhold donations to Republican lawmakers who voted to reject the outcome of the election in Arizona or Pennsylvania.

One of those lawmakers, Florida Sen. Rick Scott, is the new chair of the National Republican Senatorial Committee, a post that makes him the public face of the Senate Republican fundraising efforts.

“That’s the crux of the issue: Is this a storm that will blow over, or is … challenging (Biden’s) Electoral College certification a scarlet ‘A’?” said Republican donor Dan Eberhart, who has contributed at least $115,000 to Senate Republican efforts in recent years.

The lost contributions aren’t disastrous on their own. Political action committees controlled by corporations and industry groups are limited to giving $5,000 to a candidate per year, a sliver of the typical fundraising haul for most Senate candidates.

But two senior Republican strategists involved in Senate races say the cumulative effect of the companies’ decisions could have a bigger impact.

Both of the strategists, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss internal party deliberations, say companies that suspended political giving are also sending a powerful signal to their executives, board members and employees about whom they should donate to. And with Scott at the helm of the NRSC, that could affect the committee’s cash flow, they said.

Adding to the worries, other pillars of GOP fundraising — including the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the National Rifle Association and groups tied to the Koch brothers — can no longer be counted on for robust financial support.

The NRA announced Friday that it had filed for bankruptcy after years of profligate spending and insider dealing by top leaders.

The Chamber of Commerce, which angered some Republicans when it recently started donating to Democrats, announced this week that it will withhold contributions from some Republicans over their actions.

And the Koch network, too, announced it will scrutinize whom it gives to following the insurrection, as first reported by The Wall Street Journal.

“There are some members who by their actions will have forfeited the support of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce,” Neil Bradley, the chamber’s chief policy officer, said this week. “Our PAC will continue to support those candidates who demonstrate that type of commitment to governing and democratic norms and our priorities.”

More concerning still, one of the most influential Republican megadonors, Sheldon Adelson, died in recent days. That puts more pressure on the NRSC and the leading Senate Republican outside group, Senate Leadership Fund, to cover the difference.

Even before the last week’s violence, Republican Sens. Ted Cruz of Texas and Josh Hawley of Missouri drew widespread ire for leading efforts to challenge Biden’s win. Since the assault on the Capitol, both have come under even harsher criticism from editorial boards and influential donors, including calls to resign. Both are seen as likely 2024 White House contenders.

Then there’s Scott, a wealthy businessman and former Florida governor. He also voted to object to Biden’s win.

/zigman2/quotes/203165245/composite
US : U.S.: NYSE
$ 28.92
+0.20 +0.70%
Volume: 60.75M
March 4, 2021 4:05p
P/E Ratio
N/A
Dividend Yield
7.19%
Market Cap
$204.82 billion
Rev. per Employee
$746,783
loading...
/zigman2/quotes/203439053/composite
US : U.S.: NYSE
$ 132.04
-2.22 -1.65%
Volume: 7.18M
March 4, 2021 4:00p
P/E Ratio
75.26
Dividend Yield
0.83%
Market Cap
$211.66 billion
Rev. per Employee
$496,286
loading...
/zigman2/quotes/209472081/composite
US : U.S.: Nasdaq
$ 53.93
+0.20 +0.37%
Volume: 28.19M
March 4, 2021 4:00p
P/E Ratio
23.68
Dividend Yield
1.85%
Market Cap
$246.12 billion
Rev. per Employee
$616,452
loading...
/zigman2/quotes/203121064/composite
US : U.S.: NYSE
$ 61.20
-1.05 -1.69%
Volume: 6.05M
March 4, 2021 4:00p
P/E Ratio
37.53
Dividend Yield
4.58%
Market Cap
$46.31 billion
Rev. per Employee
$1.08M
loading...
/zigman2/quotes/200170042/composite
US : U.S.: Nasdaq
$ 144.77
-1.54 -1.05%
Volume: 4.12M
March 4, 2021 4:00p
P/E Ratio
N/A
Dividend Yield
0.00%
Market Cap
$47.47 billion
Rev. per Employee
$87,893
loading...
/zigman2/quotes/207374728/composite
US : U.S.: NYSE
$ 127.53
-0.06 -0.05%
Volume: 15.12M
March 4, 2021 4:00p
P/E Ratio
26.92
Dividend Yield
1.73%
Market Cap
$360.99 billion
Rev. per Employee
N/A
loading...
/zigman2/quotes/204980236/composite
US : U.S.: NYSE
$ 54.80
-0.58 -1.05%
Volume: 23.69M
March 4, 2021 4:00p
P/E Ratio
12.75
Dividend Yield
4.58%
Market Cap
$229.17 billion
Rev. per Employee
$970,439
loading...
1 2
This Story has 0 Comments
Be the first to comment
More News In
Economy & Politics

Story Conversation

Commenting FAQs »

Partner Center

Link to MarketWatch's Slice.