In the Kentucky U.S. Senate race, it’s Wall Street versus Hollywood.
JPMorgan Chase & Co. (JPM) Chief Executive Officer Jamie Dimon is backing the re-election of Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, the Kentucky Republican who would be in line to lead the Senate if he’s re-elected on Nov. 4 and his party makes a net gain of six seats.
Dimon gave $2,500 to McConnell’s campaign on Dec. 17, according to a filing with the Senate public records office in Washington. Dimon has a history of donating to Democratic and Republican officeholders, underscoring the importance of nurturing bipartisan alliances amid divided government in Washington.
Dimon has contributed to Democrats including Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid of Nevada and Hillary Clinton, when she was a senator from New York seeking the 2008 presidential nomination. Dimon also gave to President Barack Obama’s 2004 Illinois U.S. Senate campaign and in 2001 to Vice President Joe Biden when he was a senator from Delaware.
McConnell’s donors in last year’s fourth quarter included General Electric Co. (GE) CEO Jeffrey Immelt, American Bankers Association CEO Frank Keating, Baupost Group LLC president Seth Klarman and former Republican National Committee chairman Haley Barbour. Billionaire Harold Simmons, the former chairman of Contran Corp., donated to McConnell’s campaign 12 days before his death on Dec. 28.
McConnell will face Kentucky Democratic Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes this fall if he fends off a May primary challenge from Matt Bevin, a businessman backed by some groups aligned with the small-government Tea Party movement.
Grimes’s donors included entertainment industry figures including actor Tom Hanks, his actress wife Rita Wilson, actress America Ferrera and film directors Judd Apatow and Michael Mann.
Kentucky Democratic Governor Steve Beshear, who has promoted Obama’s health-care law, donated to Grimes’s Senate campaign, as did former Kentucky Governor Martha Layne Collins and businessman Bruce Lunsford, who was the losing Democratic nominee against McConnell in 2008.
McConnell raised $2.2 million in the fourth quarter compared to $2.1 million for Grimes. He began this year with $10.9 million in the bank compared to $3.3 million for Grimes.
Democrats control 55 of 100 Senate seats and are the defending party in 21 of the 36 Senate elections on November ballots.
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