Hollywood has long been ground zero for Democratic presidential campaign fundraising.
While a typical Southern California fundraiser can fetch anywhere between $1 million and $4 million, attaching an A-list name often brings in a boatload more. For example, George Clooney famously raised a whopping $15 million for President Obama’s 2012 reelection campaign in just one night.
In recent years, Hollywood has increasingly become a stomping ground for Republican candidates as well. And in 2016, experts say, expect the GOP to raise even more cha-ching.
“There’s a lot more money this cycle than we previously thought,” Republican strategist and adviser to John McCain in 2008, Ford O’Connell told TheWrap. “Mostly from traditional voters, but also from Hollywood’s underbelly that is not very happy with the economy.”
Conservative power players have raised plenty of money on the West Coast over the years — albeit less than their Democratic counterparts. But Republican operatives say there is plenty of GOP Hollywood cash up for grabs.
“When you add in Hollywood execs, there’s a lot of money available,” O’Connell said. “A lot of Hollywood power players can also help boost the name recognition of a lot of these [candidates].”
While Republican voters run the gamut, Hollywood conservatives tend to lean toward candidates who are stronger on the economy rather than social issues.
“They’re looking at three or four candidates right now,” said O’Connell. “One is obviously Jeb Bush. Another one is Marco Rubio, because he has a very compelling personal narrative. The third is Wisconsin governor Scott Walker and the fourth is Rand Paul because the tech industry is looking at him closely.”
Whether or not he’ll win the support of Hollywood conservatives remains to be seen.
“A lot of them are taking a wait-and-see approach,” said O’Connell. “We have 16 candidates potentially running, so you’re not going to hear a lot of folks voicing their opinion until they know who the final two or three are.”