The Senate campaign of Rep. Donna F. Edwards (D-Md.) received a cash infusion late last month of $2,600 from film and musical theater star Barbra Streisand.
“She knows Congresswoman Edwards and has long admired her work on gender equality and health care,” a Streisand representative said.
The donation lends a bit of star power to Edwards’s skimpy first-quarter fundraising report in what is sure to be a multimillion-dollar primary campaign. Edwards, a liberal lawmaker from Prince George’s County, raised $335,228 in the first three months of the year. Her primary rival, Rep. Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.), raised $1.25 million. His district includes Montgomery County.
The Edwards campaign has emphasized that those funds were raised in the two weeks between her campaign announcement and the end of the quarterly deadline for disclosure. But Van Hollen, a former Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee chairman and prodigious fundraiser, also reported raising $1.1 million in March alone.
Streisand is a reliable donor to Democratic candidates across the country, but only rarely does she involve herself in competitive primaries. One recent exception is the $1,000 Streisand gave in 2013 to House candidate Marjorie Margolies of Pennsylvania, according to data collected by the Center for Responsive Politics. Margolies, a former congresswoman and Chelsea Clinton’s mother-in-law, lost that primary.
Streisand is also a donor to Off the Sidelines, a woman-focused political action committee started by Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.). Gillibrand is supporting Edwards.
The contribution is a sign that Edwards is on the radar of deep-pocketed national liberals, a network the congresswoman needs to compete with Van Hollen’s formidable cash advantage. It’s also noteworthy because Streisand, who is Jewish, is a longtime supporter of Israel, while Edwards has been criticized by some as insufficiently so.
The Edwards campaign declined to comment, beyond acknowledging that Edwards and Streisand have met. Van Hollen’s first-quarter report is not yet available online.