California Gov. Gavin Newsom was supposed to have an easy time surviving a recall challenge against him. At the last minute, however, Democrats appear to be getting nervous — and the proof is in the donation receipts.
If you don’t believe the left is sweating this one out, just look at George Soros’ spending on the race, which totals $1 million.
According to records from the California Secretary of State’s office, the left-wing financier’s first donation was on June 22, with $250,000 donated to a committee called “Stop the Republican Recall.”
Then, on Aug. 3, he dropped another $250,000, records show.
Finally, on Monday, Soros doubled down, putting in a $500,000 donation.
— Chuck Ross (@ChuckRossDC) September 1, 2021
Soros’ donations came as polling data show the race getting considerably tighter.
While polls have been wildly inconsistent, according to RealClearPolitics — a KABC-TV/Survey USA poll between Aug. 2-4 came out with an 11-point margin in favor of recalling the governor, while a Public Policy Institute of California survey between Aug. 20-29 found a 19-point margin against recall — the average comes out to 8.2 points against removal.
That’s a far slimmer margin than in the spring, when almost all of the polls showed Newsom running a double-digit advantage. Between Newsom’s handling of COVID-19 lockdowns and the emergence of a viable, high-profile GOP candidate — conservative pundit and talk-show host Larry Elder — the race no longer seems like a slam dunk.
It’s not just Soros who’s putting money behind Newsom in the campaign’s final days. The question is whether that money will help or hurt in the run-up to the Sept. 14 vote.
Sure, having money is generally better than not having money if you’re a political candidate. However, if that money comes from a bank robbery, say, you might be better off without it. And while neither of the estates of Bonnie Parker or Clyde Barrow seem to be big donors to the Newsom side, a lot of his money comes from the usual list of liberal suspects.
Hollywood, for example. According to Fox Business, Netflix CEO Reed Hastings has done Soros three times better, donating $3 million to the Newsom cause. The Hill reported movie mogul Jeffrey Katzenberg has given $500,000.
The Entertainment Software Association has donated $50,000, while Paramount Pictures gave $40,000, Fox Business reported.
As The Hollywood Reporter pointed out, “Newsom — a San Francisco native — has made concerted efforts to spend more time in Southern California and make inroads with the powerful political constituencies in and around Los Angeles that obviously include the entertainment industry.”
His 2018 election night party was in Los Angeles, not the Bay Area, for instance.
Now, the Newsom campaign is looking to leverage that as it scrambles for donations in the final run-up to the vote.
“Newsom aides have reached out to several prominent celebrities including Snoop Dogg, urging the rapper to tweet to his 19.2 million followers his disapproval of Republican radio talk show host Larry Elder,” according to the Hollywood Reporter, which noted Snoop had agreed to cooperate.
“It’s all about reaching the lower-propensity voters, and that group is largely made up of younger people,” political consultant Nathan Ballard, who has advised Newsom, told the Hollywood Reporter.
“The governor is a celebrity in his own right, but the connective tissue between this administration and the entertainment industry couldn’t be greater, and we are going to need their help.”
If your propensity to vote is based on the rapper behind “Gin and Juice” telling you that Larry Elder is bad, Newsom has that covered. If not, he has union money as well.
According to a Tuesday report from The Hill, unions like the California Conference of Carpenters, the Service Employees International Union and the International Association of Fire Fighters have teamed up to donate millions to the campaign.
Thus, Newsom has a substantial lead in money raised — and since California law treats a recall as if it were a ballot measure, there are no limits on how much can be contributed.
“The relative disparity has given Newsom a huge advantage on the television airwaves,” The Hill reported.
“Pro-Newsom campaigns and independent groups have spent or reserved almost $30 million in airtime across the state, according to the nonpartisan media monitoring firm AdImpact. Republican candidates running to unseat Newsom have spent or reserved less than half that much.”
But then, the problem is where that money came from.
George Soros, Hollywood and labor unions: To conservatives, that’s the unholy triumvirate of Democratic donors.
That’s why, no doubt, some of that $1 million from Soros will have to go to fighting how it looks that it’s from Soros.
As much as Newsom’s connections in Hollywood might help with “low-propensity voters” wooed by Snoop Dogg, he’ll also have to spend to woo voters put off by the fact he’s begging Snoop Dogg for help.
It may be good money, sure, but it’s not a good look.
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