Trump aims to rally donors for McConnell-linked super PAC as GOP fights to hold Senate majority

Key Points
  • President Donald Trump on Thursday will rally donors at a meeting organized by a super PAC aligned with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell as the GOP gears up to defend 23 seats in the chamber next year.
  • The Senate Leadership Fund is scheduled to hold a private dinner meeting of at least 100 of its top donors at the Trump International Hotel in Washington, D.C., according to a source.
  • Trump is expected to give a speech intended to encourage donors to step up their contributions, the source adds.
President Donald Trump shakes hands with Senator Mitch McConnell (R-KY) at a Keep America Great Rally at the Rupp Arena in Lexington, Kentucky, November 4, 2019.
Yuri Gripas | Reuters

President Donald Trump on Thursday will rally donors at a meeting organized by a super PAC aligned with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell as the Republican Party gears up to defend 23 seats in the chamber next year.

The Senate Leadership Fund, which is run by McConnell associates, is scheduled to hold a private dinner meeting of at least 100 of its top donors at the Trump International Hotel in Washington, D.C., according to a person with direct knowledge of the matter.

Trump is expected to give a speech intended to encourage donors to step up their contributions, this person added. The event is not a fundraiser, and contributors were not asked to donate to gain entrance, according to this person.

Republicans hold a 53-47 edge in the Senate. Democrats need to gain a net of four seats to regain the majority. Political analysts at the Cook Political Report rank three Senate Republican seats as toss-ups: Susan Collins in Maine, Martha McSally in Arizona and Cory Gardner in Colorado. The Democratic seat in Alabama held by Doug Jones is the only other race that is rated as a toss-up.

Trump's schedule shows that he will be attending what's described as a "fundraising committee reception" at his hotel. No other details were given at the time. This week, the president will also be taking part in the National Republican Senatorial Committee's "Save the Senate" retreat. The two-day conference starts on Thursday and is also at Trump's hotel in Washington.

A spokesman for the super PAC declined to comment. The White House did not return a request for comment.

Trump's attendance also signifies that Republicans are shrugging off a big GOP loss in McConnell's home state of Kentucky, where the president recently campaigned for Republican Gov. Matt Bevin before he lost a close race to Democrat Andy Beshear. Despite the loss, Trump stood by McConnell with a tweet of support for the leader's bid for reelection. Republicans won other statewide races, including for the state's Attorney General's office.

Many of the Republicans in the Senate fighting to survive have been outraised or matched by their Democratic opponents.

In Arizona, Navy veteran and retired NASA astronaut Mark Kelly eclipsed McSally in his third-quarter fundraising haul, bringing in just over $5.5 million. Former Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper, who dropped out of the presidential race earlier this year, brought in $2.1 million, just under Gardner's haul.

The Senate Leadership Fund has been virtually tied in the fundraising game with its Democratic rival, the Senate Majority PAC.

The Senate Leadership Fund has brought in just over $5.9 million and has $10 million on hand. The Senate Majority PAC has raised more than $13 million and has $8 million on hand. The Senate Leadership Fund has reportedly budgeted more than $190 million to protect vulnerable GOP senators.

The Senate Leadership Fund's event would mark the first they've had at Trump's D.C. hotel in the 2020 election cycle. Throughout the 2018 congressional midterm race, the nonpartisan Center for Responsive Politics shows, the super PAC spent over $15,000 to rent space at the venue.

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