Saturday 24 February 2018

It's showtime in California as Hollywood backs Democrats

Nick Allen in Los Angeles

Hollywood has lined up behind Democratic candidates in the races for Governor and the US Senate in California as Republican challengers fail to make inroads in the state's iconic industry.

Barbara Boxer, the incumbent senator and Jerry Brown, her fellow Democrat who is seeking to succeed Arnold Schwarzenegger as Governor of the "Golden State", have both been backed by an array of well- known movie industry figures.

Financial donors to Ms Boxer's campaign include Oscar-winning stars Barbra Streisand, Robin Williams and Sally Field, director Steven Spielberg, Nancy Sinatra and actors Kevin Kline and Julia Louis-Dreyfus.

By contrast Carly Fiorina, her Republican opponent, has donations from only a handful of movie industry names.

They are Dean Koontz, the bestselling thriller author, Mindy Stearns who narrates a reality television show called 'Bridezillas', and James McIlwain, an executive with television network Telemundo.


Mr Brown's donors include Spielberg, George Lucas, Warren Beatty, Annette Bening, Tom Hanks, Kirk Douglas, Hugh Hefner and Jeffrey Katzenberg, the chief executive of the DreamWorks Animation studio.

Last November Spielberg and Katzenberg held a fund-raiser for Brown that brought in more than $1m (€720,000) for his campaign.

Another event attended by Hollywood luminaries last month saw supporters making donations of up to $25,000 (€18,000) each.

Ms Whitman, who herself was a vice president at The Walt Disney Company in the 1980s, does have some support in Hollywood, mainly from studio executives.

Her donors include Dick Cook, the former Disney chairman, Lew Coleman, the DreamWorks president, Michael Ovitz, the philanthropist and former studio chief and Frank McCourt, the Los Angeles Dodgers baseball team owner.

However, her only movie star backing appears to be a small donation from Jami Gertz, the actress who starred in 'The Lost Boys' in 1987 and 'Jersey Girl' in 1992.

Mr Brown (72), who was elected Governor twice in the 1970s and dated Linda Ronstadt, the singer, has strong connections in left-leaning Hollywood.

Analysis of donations by entertainment website 'The Wrap' found there were no contributions from previous Republican donors such as Jon Voight, Clint Eastwood and Robert Duvall.

Voight, leading producer Jerry Bruckheimer and actor Gary Sinise made donations instead to Mark Kirk, the Republican Senate candidate in Illinois.

Some Republicans in Hollywood are thought to have supported Tom Campbell, Ms Fiorina's more socially liberal primary opponent.

Mr Schwarzenegger, who was popular in Hollywood, has not endorsed either Ms Whitman or Ms Fiorina, both of whom built their business careers in Silicon Valley. (© Daily Telegraph, London)

Irish Independent

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