Kentucky Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes (D) has racked up donations from at least 66 Hollywood celebrities in her race for U.S. Senate, in the wake of mogul Jeffrey Katzenberg's rallying call to defeat Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.).
Katzenberg, the CEO of DreamWorks Animation and a top Democratic fundraiser, emphasized the importance of Grimes’ campaign in a recent letter to potential donors, calling the Kentucky race “a pivotal election that can get the Senate working again.”
“There is no more important election being held next year in this country,” Katzenberg wrote in the letter, obtained by The Hollywood Reporter.
Hollywood stars together donated more than $250,000 from July through September toward Grimes’ campaign to unseat McConnell, according to an analysis of Federal Election Commission documents by The Hill.
A-listers Leonardo DiCaprio, Danny DeVito, Jack Black, Cameron Diaz, Ben Affleck, Jennifer Garner, Mike Myers, James Cameron, J.J. Abrams, Steven Spielberg, Jon Hamm and Nicolas Cage have all contributed the maximum $5,200 to the Grimes campaign. Other donors included Ben Stiller, Leonard Nimoy and Woody Allen.
In light of Grimes’ attempts to portray herself as the more true-to-Kentucky candidate, McConnell has seized upon the news to paint her as out of touch with the state’s values.
"[It’s] no surprise that Obama’s liberal Hollywood friends are supporting Alison Lundergan Grimes' campaign against Mitch McConnell,” said Allison Moore, a spokeswoman for McConnell's 2014 campaign. "They’re obviously not concerned about Kentucky’s representation.”
The race has gotten ugly in recent weeks. Grimes on Monday releaseda web ad attacking McConnell for his obstructionist record in the Senate and his role in the recent government shutdown.
"He's blocked the Senate over 400 times. Then voted to shut down the government, hurting Kentucky's economy," the ad says. "Mitch McConnell can't light the house on fire and then claim credit for putting it out -- especially while it's still burning."
In response, Moore tweeted, “Alison Lundergan Grimes wouldn’t know if the house were on fire, under water or if it even exists unless Obama’s Washington allies told her."
On Tuesday, Grimes wrote in an op-ed for the Lexington Herald-Leader that “McConnell's last-minute efforts to end the shutdown do not change the fact that he caused it."
“They are tired of their senior senator who sides with special interests rather than the middle-class families back home," Grimes wrote of Kentuckians. "And they are tired of their senior senator who has left Kentucky in the lurch."
McConnell is facing a primary challenge from Matt Bevin, a conservative businessman. A recent Public Policy Poll found Grimes ahead of McConnell by 2 points in a potential general election mash-up, within the poll's margin of error.