Republicans Need Young 'Megadonors'

Wednesday, 08 Jan 2014 08:23 AM

By Drew MacKenzie

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The GOP is looking for wealthy young "megadonors" following the deaths of two major benefactors, Texas billionaires Harold Simmons and Bob Perry, according to Politico.

The pair, who gave close to $50 million between them during the 2012 elections, was the second and third biggest donors to the Republican Party behind the Adelsons, and their donations, in fact, amounted to more than the next eight benefactors combined.

And with Democrats receiving support for their super PACs from young rich donors, the report says that Republicans are seeking super-rich, and younger, benefactors to help their cause, as well as attracting young GOP voters.

"People are obviously anxious to move on from the past," said Kent Burton, who raised funds for Mitt Romney’s failed 2012 presidential campaign. "Of course, we want more young people involved. The party is for economic growth and opportunity for all. We believe that our party has more to offer the younger people — and even minorities — than the Democrats."

Burton expects that it should not be too long before elite Republicans come forward with the sort of vast donations given by Simmons and Perry. "There are significant contributors who will be willing to step in," he said. "I think there will be resources to support the party and there are a lot of reasons to be optimistic."

Politico says that, according to public records, out of the top 10 Republican donors during the last election cycle only one was under 60, Peter Thiel, 46, and only three were under 70: Miriam Adelson, 68; Robert Mercer, 67; and Robert Rowling, 60. But with Democrats, three were under 60 and five were under 70.

Shaun McCutcheon, a GOP super donor, warned that the difficulty of finding young benefactors is "definitely something the party needs to be concerned about." But he noted that his bigger concern is drawing young voters to the party.

"Most of the conversations I’ve had are just about getting young people more active in politics, not necessarily from a fundraising point of view," he said. "I think they’re still counting on more established Republicans to give in a big way. They don’t expect to get that much money from younger people."

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