The strangest celebrity political donations of 2014

This post has been updated.

When the Denver Broncos were playing the Seattle Seahawks in this year's Super Bowl, Sen. Mark Udall (D-Colo.) was so excited that he wore his Peyton Manning jersey to work.


Sen. Mark Udall (D-Colo.) smiles as he sports a Peyton Manning Denver Broncos football jersey while walking past the "Ohio" clock in the Senate wing of the Capitol on Jan. 28, 2014. (J. Scott Applewhite/AP)

He and his fellow Democratic Colorado colleague, Sen. Michael Bennet, sent out a joint press release bragging about the Broncos: “Colorado is #UnitedInOrange because we have the best football team in the nation," it read.

Udall was just as excited when Manning first signed with the Broncos in 2012.

Unfortunately for Udall, the Broncos didn't do so hot. Even worse for Udall, politically, Manning's heart is still back in Tennessee where he went to college. Former University of Tennessee president and current Sen. Lamar Alexander has received $5,200 from the former University of Tennessee quarterback this election cycle.

Fortunately for Udall, he has a few other celebrities to rely on -- as do many other candidates and committees this year. Although presidential elections get all the press, celebrity donors don't retire during the midterms. Here are some of the odder -- at first glance, at least -- celebrity contributions that we've seen so far this year.

Barbra Streisand for Democrats

Streisand gives widely during all elections, and has for decades. During presidential elections her involvement gets more high-profile, but during the midterms she has given to Udall, Sen. Ed Markey (D-Mass.), Rep, Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), Sen. Pat Leahy (D-Vt.), Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.), Sen. Cory Booker (D-N.J.), Sen. Mark Begich (D-Alaska), Sen. Al Franken (D-Minn.), Sen. Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.), Kentucky Senate candidate Allison Lundergan Grimes, the Democratic National Committee and several other candidates and committees.

Tim Gunn for Kay Hagan

Designer Tim Gunn, of "Project Runway" fame, was born and raised in D.C., and his dad worked in the FBI under J. Edgar Hoover. So he's seen his fair share of politics up close. But why has he given $5,200 to Sen. Kay Hagan (D-N.C.) this cycle -- as well as hosting a "special tea for Mothers and Daughters" at his house in New York in honor of the senator? The person he was co-hosting the event with might have something to do with it. Lobbyist Liz Robbins has worked with Gunn on intellectual property rights for fashion designers -- and both of them have been on Capitol Hill a few times to discuss this issue.

Gunn has also given money to Rep. Steve Israel (D-N.Y.), head of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, and New York House candidate Sean Eldridge (D).

John Elway

Speaking of Denver Broncos quarterbacks, Hall-of-Famer John Elway has spent money on politics this year too. Rep. Mike Coffman (R-Colo.) and Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) have received donations.

George Takei

The Internet virtuoso best known for his role on "Star Trek" has, unsurprisingly perhaps, given $2,500 to the incumbent in Silicon Valley, Rep. Mike Honda (D-Calif.). Takei also held a fundraiser for Honda, whom he has supported for decades. Both Takei and Honda were sent to Japanese internment camps with their families during World War II. "Mike has been a champion for our not repeating with Arab-Americans the mistake that happened when Pearl Harbor was bombed," Takei told the San Jose Mercury-News earlier this year. "This kind of sensitivity, the awareness on the part of our elected officials, is absolutely essential to our democracy. Thank God we had Mike there."

Julia Louis-Dreyfus

The "Veep" actress, who moonlights as a politician of some renown, has given $2,600 to Rep. Lois Capps (D-Calif.). Her husband, William Bradley Hall, gave $2,600, too.

Donald Trump

Can we still qualify Donald Trump as a celebrity when he's trying so hard to be a politico? Since he was in "Home Alone 2" and "Zoolander," we're going to say yes. The business magnate has given to everyone who is anyone (or at least imperiled) in the Republican Party this year -- Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), Sen. Tim Scott (R-S.C.), Sen. John Cornyn (R-Tex.), Rep. Raul Labrador (R-Idaho), New Jersey everything candidate Steve Lonegan, Michigan Senate candidate Terri Lynn Land, Rep. Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.), Virginia House candidate Barbara Comstock, Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-Tex.), Arkansas Senate candidate Tom Cotton and many more.

Anna Wintour

During Barack Obama's presidential campaigns, the Vogue editor-in-chief was a big fundraiser and bundler. This year, her political activity has been far more reserved. She has given $2,500 to Rep. Tim Bishop (D-N.Y.), who seems to always face a difficult reelection campaign in his Long Island district. Wintour has a house on Long Island. She also gave $5,000 to the Democratic National Committee last year.

Ron Howard

The movie director has been another big Democratic donor over the years. He has given to Booker, Franken and Grimes. (As a celebrity himself, former "Saturday Night Live" star Franken has attracted several celebrities to his campaign coffers. His motley crew of donors include "SNL" co-star Jane Curtin, actress Lily Tomlin, singer Jason Mraz, director JJ Abrams and director Carl Reiner.)

JJ Abrams

Besides donating to Franken's campaign, the TV and movie director/producer has also given $20,000 to the DSCC and $10,000 to the DCCC. He also gave to Booker, Grimes, Udall, Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (D-Hawaii), Begich and losing House candidate Wendy Greuel.

Mary Steenburgen

The actress, who is pretty much in every other movie, has given $2,500 to Sen. Mark Pryor (D-Ark.). Steenburgen was born in Arkansas, where she hung out with Bill Clinton as a kid.

Correction: This post originally said that Rep. Mike Coffman is a Democrat. He is a Republican. 

Jaime Fuller reports on national politics for "The Fix" and Post Politics. She worked previously as an associate editor at the American Prospect, a political magazine based in Washington, D.C.
Comments
Show Comments
Most Read Politics
Next Story
Aaron Blake · August 6