Shapiro raises nearly $18 million for gubernatorial campaign | News, Sports, Jobs

HARRISBURG — Democratic gubernatorial candidate Josh Shapiro has raised nearly $18 million in campaign contributions over the past 15 months — more than all nine of his potential Republican opponents combined.

From labor unions in Pennsylvania to a Democratic megadonor in California and philanthropists in New York, Colorado, Indiana and Oklahoma, Shapiro’s vast donor base has helped position him to enter the season. general election with money.

Unlike GOP hopefuls who are depleting their campaign funds fighting for supremacy in a crowded field, Shapiro has no Democratic challenger. It has given the current attorney general the chance to avoid a frenzied spring of politics and focus instead on courting traditional donors — and a few unexpected ones — ahead of a fall run that could break campaign spending records. in the state.

This lack of opponents also allowed him to avoid spending much of the money he raised, according to campaign records, leaving him with a cash balance of just over $16 million. dollars in early April. By contrast, GOP candidates started the month with far less cash in hand. Former U.S. Attorney Bill McSwain had the most available, with $1.7 million in his campaign account.

Still, big national groups like the Democratic and Republican Governors Associations have yet to start pumping money into Pennsylvania, a key battleground in the 2022 and 2024 midterm presidential elections. such injections of cash could quickly change the landscape of fundraising in Pennsylvania after the May primary.

Also a potential game-changer in the coming months: so-called independent spending by people or groups who can’t coordinate with campaigns, but can still spend money on TV ads, direct mail and the like. supports that can help a specific candidate.

The stakes are high. The person who wins the governorship sets the political and policy agenda for the state and has the power to appoint cabinet members with broad authority, including election oversight. Depending on which party controls the legislature, the outcome of the gubernatorial race could profoundly alter the future direction of Pennsylvania.

Muhlenberg College political analyst Chris Borick said he was not surprised by the volume of money and outside interest in this year’s gubernatorial race. For starters, he said, modern political history in Pennsylvania does not favor Democrats: Voters here have alternated between electing Democrats and Republicans to the state’s highest office in recent years. decades. If this tradition holds, a Republican should succeed incumbent Democratic Gov. Tom Wolf — and reversing him will take work and money.

Borick also said Democrats appear unlikely to take control of either legislative chamber in the fall election. As a result, they focus their efforts on maintaining control of the executive, if only to control the actions of the legislature.

Anne Wakabayashi – who works for The Win Company, a Democratic-aligned media consultancy – said oversight is paramount.

“With the GOP legislature that we have trying to pass laws that would make us look more like Texas or Florida, the governor’s veto pen is so important,” Wakabayashi said, adding that out-of-state donors who understand Pennsylvania’s role as a key pivot state recognize the power of the veto.

Shapiro’s last two campaign finance reports run to over 4,000 pages and include contributions ranging from less than $50 to $1 million each from three wealthy out-of-state donors: Karla Jurvetson, a philanthropist and a prominent Democratic contributor from Silicon Valley; Bill Harris Jr., former PayPal executive and founder of a fintech company near San Francisco; and doctor Jennifer Duda of Menlo Park, California.

A range of Pennsylvania-based unions and their affiliated parent companies have also contributed heavily to Shapiro’s campaign, collectively donating more than $3.7 million since the start of 2021.

The Greater PA Carpenters PAC of Philadelphia has topped the list of union donors so far, giving Shapiro $500,000. The union representing Pennsylvania educators and the union representing mechanics and heavy equipment operators in the construction industry came in second with $400,000 each in contributions, campaign records show.

Yet more than six months from the general election, it is Shapiro’s individual donors who stand out with their six-figure contributions.

Billionaire Thomas Hagen, chairman of the board of the Erie Indemnity Company, ranked 951st on Forbes’ list of the world’s richest people as of April 27, gave Shapiro $500,000 in two separate donations last year, according to campaign records.

Micheal Rubin, the billionaire founder of sports e-commerce company Fanatics, Inc. and owner of the Philadelphia 76ers, contributed $250,000, while venture capitalist David Magerman, tech company executive Christian Larsen and philanthropist based in Indiana Deborah Simon each donated $200,000. .

Nearly a dozen individuals or political action committees donated $100,000 or more. This list includes an unexpected name: John Middleton, co-owner of the Philadelphia Phillies.

Middleton is a longtime supporter of GOP candidates. A decade ago, he was one of former Republican Governor Tom Corbett’s biggest donors.

Also included are more anticipated supporters, such as Wolf, a known Shapiro supporter.

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