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: Here’s how top CEOs are opening up their wallets for J.D. Vance and other candidates in key Senate races

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By one metric, J.D. Vance could be considered the favorite among CEOs of S&P 500 companies.

That’s because the Ohio Republican has attracted more money from current or recent S&P 500 chief executives than any other candidate engaged in a competitive 2022 Senate race, according to a MarketWatch analysis.

The venture capitalist and “Hillbilly Elegy” author has received a total of $45,800. The funds come from TransDigm Group
TDG,
-3.09%

CEO Kevin Stein and former Cintas
CTAS,
-2.91%

CEO Scott Farmer who have given $25,000 and $20,800, respectively, of their own money to Vance Victory, a joint fundraising committee.

The table below shows the five candidates in competitive Senate contests who have raised the most from S&P 500
SPX,
-2.50%

CEOs.

After Vance, incumbent Democratic senators get the next four spots, with Colorado’s Michael Bennet at No. 2 with $37,600, followed by New Hampshire’s Maggie Hassan, Georgia’s Raphael Warnock and Nevada’s Catherine Cortez Masto.

The 5 Senate candidates in competitive races getting the most money from S&P 500 CEOs

CEO

COMPANY

CANDIDATE

AMOUNT

Kevin Stein

TransDigm Group

J.D. Vance

$25,000

Scott Farmer*

Cintas

J.D. Vance

$20,800

Total

$45,800

Reed Hastings

Netflix

Michael Bennet

$15,800

Hikmet Ersek*

Western Union

Michael Bennet

$10,800

Debra Cafaro

Ventas

Michael Bennet

$5,000

Larry Fink

BlackRock

Michael Bennet

$5,000

Michael Rapino

Live Nation

Michael Bennet

$1,000

Total

$37,600

Kenneth Frazier*

Merck

Maggie Hassan

$5,800

Michael F. Neidorff*

Centene

Maggie Hassan

$5,800

Sarah London

Centene

Maggie Hassan

$5,800

Richard Norwitt

Amphenol

Maggie Hassan

$5,800

Michael Rapino

Live Nation

Maggie Hassan

$2,900

Michael Mussallem

Edwards Lifesciences

Maggie Hassan

$2,000

Roger Hochschild

Discover Financial

Maggie Hassan

$1,000

Total

$29,100

Reed Hastings

Netflix

Raphael Warnock

$11,600

Kenneth Frazier*

Merck

Raphael Warnock

$5,800

Edward Bastian

Delta

Raphael Warnock

$5,800

Dan Amos

Aflac

Raphael Warnock

$5,800

Total

$29,000

Kenneth Frazier*

Merck

Catherine Cortez Masto

$5,800

Michael F. Neidorff*

Centene

Catherine Cortez Masto

$5,800

Sarah London

Centene

Catherine Cortez Masto

$5,800

William Hornbuckle

MGM Resorts

Catherine Cortez Masto

$2,800

John Ketchum

NextEra Energy

Catherine Cortez Masto

$1,000

Roger Hochschild

Discover Financial

Catherine Cortez Masto

$1,000

Total

$22,200

Source: MarketWatch analysis of processed Federal Election Commission data for the 2022 election cycle as of Oct. 31, 2022.

* No longer CEO

The Senate contests considered competitive for MarketWatch’s analysis are the nine currently rated as toss-ups or “Lean D” or “Lean R” by the nonpartisan Cook Political Report. They are the races in Arizona, Colorado, Georgia, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Nevada, New Hampshire, North Carolina and Wisconsin.

Both TransDigm, an aerospace and defense company, and Cintas, which provides uniforms and other products to businesses, are based in Ohio, the state that Vance seeks to represent in the Senate as he battles his Democratic opponent, Rep. Tim Ryan.

The giving by the two companies’ CEOs could be an effort to make a connection with a powerful fellow Ohioan, according to Michael Beckel, research director at Issue One, a nonpartisan watchdog group that aims to reduce the influence of big money in politics.

“It makes sense that Ohio-based companies would want a good relationship with their senator,” Beckel told MarketWatch.

TransDigm and Cintas didn’t respond to requests for comment, while Vance’s campaign declined to comment.

Vance is “controversial,” but Ohio Republican Sen. Rob Portman has backed him, noted Bruce Freed, president of the Center for Political Accountability, a nonprofit that pushes for better transparency around corporate political spending.

“The fact that Portman, who had been viewed as a moderate, has endorsed him, would make a contribution by a corporate person, let’s say, more acceptable,” Freed told MarketWatch.

Portman’s decision to retire led to the Ryan-Vance race.

Vance won Ohio’s GOP Senate primary after getting former President Donald Trump’s endorsement despite his past criticism of Trump. His campaign also has gotten attention for benefiting from a $15 million contribution from billionaire entrepreneur Peter Thiel.

Vance last month responded to a MarketWatch questionnaire about his stances, saying he wants to end tax loopholes for tech companies and ban congressional stock trading.

See: Republican Senate candidate J.D. Vance answers 5 questions from MarketWatch

And read: Tim Ryan quips J.D. Vance is an ‘ass kisser’ during pair’s first Senate debate

MarketWatch’s analysis of political spending by CEOs includes anyone who held the post of chief executive at any S&P 500 company in 2021 or 2022, so donors such as Cintas’ Farmer or the late Michael Neidorff of Centene are featured, even though they are no longer in that job.

Now read: Here’s what the midterm elections could mean for the financial sector, energy, healthcare and more

Also: Republicans have over 70% chance of winning Senate in midterm elections, betting markets say

: How MarketWatch analyzed political spending by S&P 500 CEOs

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