GOP Mega-Donor Abandons Ohio MAGA Senate Candidate

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J.D. Vance, the Trump goon running for Ohio’s soon-to-be open U.S. Senate seat, potentially won’t be seeing any additional financial support directly from billionaire Peter Thiel, according to details published in a new report from CNBC.

At a fundraiser held at Thiel’s Los Angeles home for Arizona Republican contender Blake Masters, who is running for Senate against Sen. Mark Kelly (D), the right-wing financier expressed optimism about the status of Vance’s campaign, but without money from Thiel, Vance could struggle. In fundraising, his campaign is far behind that of Rep. Tim Ryan (D-Ohio), his opponent in the race, which mirrors Arizona fundraising struggles. From January 1 of last year to July 13 of this one, Kelly’s campaign contributions reached $51.7 million, and Masters’s total starting last April was just $4.3 million, according to FEC data. In Ohio, the Vance campaign itself isn’t raising much compared to Ryan’s total. From the beginning of May 2021 to the close of June 2022, Vance’s total contributions reached about $754,000. (There’s more money, although not remotely enough to pass Ryan, that came in via transfers from other authorized committees.) In roughly the same period, Ryan’s campaign fundraising flew past $20.1 million.

In the primary, Vance’s campaign relied in large part on outside spending by a super PAC where Thiel donated millions. But now, the conservative megadonor has called the Ohio Senate race “done in my mind,” according to someone familiar with the recently held fundraiser for Masters who was characterizing Thiel’s perspective. He apparently connected his stance to Vance’s decent showings in recent polls, although surveys are always technically imperfect. In a recent New York Congressional election where not a single major poll released publicly (per data cataloged by FiveThirtyEight) showed the Democrat winning, he won anyway.

“We just have to get Blake over the finish line,” as the source for the CNBC report recapped Thiel’s perspective. There have already been huge levels of spending in both Arizona and Ohio, although the Masters campaign apparently wasn’t airing any television ads throughout September. (That doesn’t exclude the prospect of outside groups airing ads that promoted Masters.) CNBC explains: “Campaigns and independent groups have spent over $120 million on ads in the Arizona Senate race, while they have put north of $100 million into the Ohio contest, data from AdImpact shows.” Both Masters and Vance, neither of whom have previously held elected office, have prior career connections to Thiel. Vance previously worked at an investment firm that counts Thiel as a co-founder, and Masters worked at another firm, Thiel Capital, whose connections to the megadonor are self-evident. Both harbor extremist and suspicion-warranting views, whether that’s Vance seemingly questioning whether women should leave physically violent relationships or Masters calling abortion “demonic” and saying it’s a “religious sacrifice.”