Kamala Harris and Joe Biden.
Michael Finnegan and Maloy Moore, Tribune News Service
Senator Kamala Harris of California drew some of the most powerful players in Hollywood to her recent reception at the Los Angeles home of filmmaker J.J. Abrams of the “Star Wars” franchise. Television producer Shonda Rhimes, actress Elizabeth Banks and music giant Quincy Jones were among the guests enjoying hors d›oeuvres and drinks under a full moon.
Harris, who lives in Los Angeles, has emerged as the entertainment industry›s early favourite in the swelling field of Democrats running for president, according to some of the party›s top Hollywood fundraisers.
“I think she›s really trying to corral this community as her donor base,” said Hannah Linkenhoker, the senior political strategist at ICM Partners and co-founder of the L.A. Women›s Collective donor group. “To some extent, that›s working. She›s definitely had the most events, and the most high-profile.”
More than a dozen of the senator›s White House rivals have traveled to Los Angeles in recent months in a scramble for entertainment industry money, a pillar of Democratic fundraising. Guarded from public view, their gatherings with high-dollar donors in Beverly Hills, Brentwood and the Hollywood Hills can be crucial to keeping their campaigns alive for the early 2020 contests in Iowa, New Hampshire, Nevada and South Carolina.
Some of the candidates — Sens. Cory Booker of New Jersey, Kirsten Gillibrand of New York and Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota, to name a few — have worked the circuit of L.A. donors for years in races for lower office. None, however, can match the bonds that Harris forged with Hollywood political players as she ran twice for state attorney general and once for US Senate. Over the last decade, she has collected more than $1.7 million from the entertainment industry, a Los Angeles Times analysis found.
Jane Fonda, Leonardo DiCaprio, Barbra Streisand, Halle Berry, Reese Witherspoon, Ben Affleck, Kerry Washington, Charlize Theron and a long roster of studio executives gave money to Harris in the years before she launched her campaign for president. Her husband, Douglas Emhoff, an attorney at DLA Piper, raised money from fellow entertainment lawyers and other Harris supporters last month at a reception in Los Angeles› Century City section. Appalled by President Donald Trump, many in Hollywood have stepped up their political activities in hopes of bouncing him from office next year. The industry›s opposition to previous Republican presidents was less intense, said Donna Bojarsky, a longtime Democratic political consultant in Los Angeles.
“You almost have to look back on Ronald Reagan quaintly,” she said. “It›s a whole different level, and the danger is at a whole different level. We›re arguing about the existence of climate change? This is just insane.”
Last fall, Democrats trying to oust Republicans in Congress drew packed crowds at Hollywood fundraisers. Television celebrities, including Alyssa Milano and Kaitlin Olson, canvassed and campaigned for candidates in L.A. and Orange County races.
Now, the anti-Trump fervor is yielding money earlier in the election cycle than normal for White House contenders. “This is building upon the energy in the midterms as if donors recognize that was step one, and now we›re on to the main event,” said Andy Spahn, one of the industry›s top fundraisers.
Some donors are giving to multiple candidates, at least for now, but others are waiting to see who emerges as Trump›s most viable challenger. Harris could soon face serious competition in Hollywood from Joe Biden, who is preparing to join the race for the Democratic nomination.
In a sign of his enduring support among donors, the former vice president stopped in Los Angeles in October to raise money for his American Possibilities PAC. Biden picked up $5,000 checks from director Steven Spielberg, Dreamworks co-founder Jeffrey Katzenberg, Paramount Pictures Chief Executive Jim Gianopulos and Sony motion picture Chairman Tom Rothman.
Oxygen Media has greenlighted a two-hour documentary that will capture Kim Kardashian West's efforts to free prisoners she believes were wrongly accused. It's a move by the network to expand its true-crime programming.
The UAE is fast becoming an exceptional case study in international relations and diplomacy, showcasing how a ‘small’ country can punch above its weight by shaping a dynamic foreign policy vision.
Game of Thrones fans the world over are waiting on the edge of their seats for the release of the final season on April 14. In honour of what is, perhaps one of the most popular television shows of all time, we take a look back at some of the most interesting characters who have kept audiences coming back for more season after season.
The signing of a final power-sharing agreement by Sudan’s pro-democracy movement and the ruling military council is a historic step that ensures participation of all spectrums of Sudanese national forces and will certainly help consolidate the stability of the political system. Sudan has re-scripted history with the dawn
Israel’s ban on the entry to Palestine of two US Muslim Congresswomen should wake the world to the urgent need for independent entry and exit channels for both visitors to and Palestinians dwelling in the Israeli occupied West Bank and besieged and blockaded Gaza. Rashida Tlaib and Ilhan Omar were
Spend a decade or two writing about financial markets, and a few themes will begin to emerge. These are: No. 1. Politics and investing do not mix; No. 2. Presidents usually get too much credit when things go right and too much blame when things go wrong; No. 3. Most of the time, markets don’t care
During the Sars epidemic that brought Hong Kong to a virtual standstill in 2003, the surgical mask became the global emblem of a beleaguered city. It condensed and projected the fear, alienation, but also the resilience and ultimately the solidarity of a community under stress. We look back now at the courage