In choosing Virginia Sen. Tim Kaine as her running mate, Democrat Hillary Clinton has added another prolific fundraiser to her already vast financial apparatus.
Since his campaign for Virginia lieutenant governor in 2000, Kaine has raised $60 million from a donor network of corporations and well-heeled individuals, including telecom companies Sprint and Verizon Communications, brewer Anheuser-Busch InBev, insurers Genworth Financial and Amerigroup, mystery writer John Grisham and billionaire Randal J. Kirk.
Kaine will join a campaign that’s already operating a formidable fundraising operation — Clinton has pulled in far more money so far than her Republican rival, Donald Trump. While Trump and outside groups supporting him had raised a combined $94.2 million in the electoral cycle as of the end of June, the same number for Clinton has climbed to $386.1 million.
Kaine was a finalist for the No. 2 spot in 2008 with Barack Obama. Instead of vice president, Obama tapped Kaine to follow Howard Dean as chairman of the Democratic National Committee, a position he held from January 2009 to April 2011. The party raised $111 million while Kaine was in charge.
Those connections could help Clinton widen the money gap with Trump, according to Ankit Desai, a lobbyist for Cheniere Energy who has raised money for both Kaine and Clinton. “With his experience in the DNC, he has a network of large-dollar donors and extensive support from small-dollar donors as well,” Desai said.
For his 2012 Senate campaign, Kaine raised $3 million in contributions of $200 or less, about 17 percent of his total of $18 million, according to the Center for Responsive Politics. The Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee and Majority PAC, a super-PAC launched by allies of Sen. Harry Reid, D-Nevada, spent $15 million promoting Kaine against his opponent George Allen.
In his state and federal races, law firms have contributed $4.5 million, securities and investment firms $1.7 million and realtors $1.5 million, according to data from campaign finance watchdogs Center for Responsive Politics and National Institute on Money in State Politics.
Some of Kaine’s top donors have also supported Republicans. Randal Kirk, the chairman and largest shareholder of biotech firm Intrexon, has given Kaine $785,000, according to data from the Virginia Public Access Project. Kirk later gave $300,000 to Bob McDonnell’s leadership PAC. BET co-founder Sheila Johnson, contributed $615,000, including in-kind contributions. She supported Barack Obama in 2008 but endorsed McDonnell in 2009 and gave his campaign $50,000.
Kaine also had support from more reliable Democratic donors. Service Employees International Union, Laborers’ International Union of North America and the AFL-CIO also rank among his most generous givers, with the bulk of the money given to his state races. Virginia law allows individuals, corporations and unions to contribute unlimited amounts to state campaigns.
The top two donors on the federal level are the League of Conservation Voters — Kaine opposed the Keystone Pipeline — and JStreetPAC, the political action committee of J Street, a progressive organization that calls itself pro-Israel and pro-peace. J Street supported the Obama administration’s agreement with Iran over its nuclear weapons program, which Kaine also backed.
As a senator, Kaine has held fundraisers at the Washington offices of federal contractors Babcock & Wilcox and Honeywell International, at Beyonce and Bon Jovi concerts at the Verizon Center. The Washington office of international law firm Jones Day hosts Kaine’s annual “Smoked’n Oaked” fundraising event, featuring Virginia barbecue, beer and bourbon, according to invitations collected by the Sunlight Foundation.
As of the end of June, Clinton and the outside groups backing her had a combined $85.9 million in cash at their disposal for the general election – nearly four times what Trump and supporting groups have in the bank. While Kaine may not need to fill a fundraising void, his contacts will still be welcomed, said Sheila Krumholz, executive director of the Center for Responsive Politics.
“It never hurts, and can be a huge help, to have another skillful fundraiser on the ticket,” Krumholz said. “And that’s never been more true than now when super-PACs and other groups will be lobbing attacks at them with their unlimited funds.”