Sens. Booker and McConnell share some important commonalities: Donors

Sens. Cory Booker (D-N.J.) and Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) share at least one thing.

Campaign donors.

Al Kamen, an award-winning columnist on the national staff of The Washington Post, created the “In the Loop” column in 1993. View Archive

Booker, a Senate newbie, and McConnell, the Senate minority leader, show up dipping into the same donor pool more than any other opposing-party members of Congress. They shared 74 donors in the first year of this election cycle.

This comes from a fascinating data dive from the Center for Responsive Politics that broke down which politicians have donor overlap. As the CRP points out, just shy of two-tenths of 1 percent of American adults have donated to campaigns this year, so the pickings are slim.

Cashing checks makes strange bedfellows — a politician isn’t going to care who else’s bed a donor has slept in (figuratively, of course).

Booker also shares donors with other top Republicans: House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (Va.) and Senate Minority Whip John Cornyn (Tex.).

And McConnell has donors in common with other Democrats, including Sens. Mark Warner (Va.) and Kay Hagan (N.C.).

Politicians from the same party, as you’d expect, share donors at a higher rate. McConnell also tops that list, with 415 of his donors contributing to Cornyn as well. Another obvious duo is Hagan and Sen. Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.), who are both running in high-profile, competitive reelection campaigns this year. They share 387 donors.

We were curious who these deep-pocketed party hoppers are. Our friends at the CRP dug up their data and shared the 74 names. They include Lawrence Salva, senior vice president of Comcast; William Lauder, chairman of Estée Lauder; and Eric Schmidt, executive chairman of Google.

No sex, please

Fictional vice president Selina Meyer was adamant on a recent episode of “Veep”: A female politician should not remind voters that she is, in fact, a woman. “No, no, no! I can’t identify myself as a woman — people can’t know that,” Meyer told her staff.

With Meyer’s declaration still fresh, Terri Lynn Land, the presumptive GOP nominee for a U.S. Senate seat in Michigan, released a TV ad this week responding directly to charges that Republicans are waging a “war on women.” Doing exactly what Julia Louis-Dreyfus’s character had exasperatedly warned against, Land tells voters, “As a woman, I might know a little bit more about women than Gary Peters [her likely Democratic opponent].”

Land is not the first, nor is she likely to be the last, female politician to highlight her sex. Contrary to Meyer’s belief that drawing attention to your gender is bad politics, real-life politicians have often employed the phrase “as a woman,” or some variation of it.

Using the Sunlight Foundation’s Capitol Words tool, we found several instances of female members of Congress playing up their gender during policy debates. At least two examples involved floor speeches on abortion — exactly the hot-button issue the Meyer team was mulling over when a staffer suggested that she use the phrase “as a woman” to explain her position.

During debate in January over federal funding for abortion, Rep. Diane Black (R-Tenn.) said:

“Now, despite the legislation’s bipartisan support, we have heard more than a few mischaracterizations of this bill from our colleagues across the aisle, and as a woman, I reject these false attacks. This legislation is not about taking away anyone’s choice. It is about giving choice to the nearly two-thirds of Americans who don’t want their hard-earned tax dollars funding the destruction of innocent life.”

In July 2012, Rep. Martha Roby (R-Ala.) said:

“In sitting here listening to debate, I want to get a few things straight. First of all, I am a woman, and I have not declared war on myself. Second of all, this is not a direct challenge to Roe v. Wade. This is a direct challenge to cruelty to unborn children. Currently, the policy in D.C. legally allows abortion for any reason until the moment of birth.”

Abortion isn’t the only issue that puts female politicians on the defensive. In April, during a floor debate on equal pay for women, Sen. Kelly Ayotte (R-N.H.) said, “Frankly, as a woman, I would like the opportunity to outperform and to be paid more.”

And in June 2013, during a debate about sexual assault in the military, Rep. Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.) said, “As a woman and as a strong supporter of our nation’s military, I find it absolutely appalling that any woman who has been the victim of crime should have to fear reporting her perpetrator for fear of retaliation.”

Of course, “Veep” fans know that at the end of the episode, Meyer contradicted herself. During an appearance on “Good Morning America,” she answered a question about abortion with “As a woman myself . . . ”

That’s Franklin, not -ghazi

At the risk of abusing an overused Washingtonism, we could observe that Secretary of State John Kerry determined pretty early in his tenure at Foggy Bottom that if you want a friend in this town, get a dog.

Well, Kerry’s best friend, Ben, affectionately known as “diplomutt” and named for Benjamin Franklin, had quite the week in the spotlight. Kerry set up a Twitter account for his yellow Lab and tweeted his pup a happy-birthday message Tuesday. Almost instantly, Ben, without any tweets of his own, had more than 600 followers.

Then, on Thursday, Kerry brought Ben to a ‘Take Your Child to Work” event at the State Department. Ben behaved for most of the U.S. top diplomat’s brief remarks, though he did jump on the female sign-language interpreter.

The official State Department transcript from the event includes: “Whoops. Sit, sit, sit, sit. He’s learning. He’s one year old yesterday, two days ago. Whoops. (Laughter.) Sit. He’s learning, slowly. He’s getting there.”

Should Kerry consider trying some of those obedience techniques on Vladi­mir Putin?

— With Colby Itkowitz

The blog: washingtonpost.com/
intheloop. Twitter: @InTheLoopWP.

Colby Itkowitz is a national reporter for In The Loop.
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