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
CEO Kevin Stein and former Cintas
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
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
|Kevin Stein||TransDigm Group||J.D. Vance||$25,000|
|Scott Farmer*||Cintas||J.D. Vance||$20,800|
|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|
|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|
|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|
|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|
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.
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.