Hillary Clinton is getting more than just an endorsement from prominent Republican fundraiser Meg Whitman.
Whitman, the CEO of Hewlett-Packard Enterprise and a one-time Republican California gubernatorial candidate, paid $50,000 to attend a fundraising dinner for Clinton at the home of Univision owner Haim Saban on Tuesday night, according to CNN.
Whitman announced earlier this month that she was supporting the Democratic nominee over her Republican rival Donald Trump, in what CNN called “one of the highest-profile Republican defections.” At the time, Whitman also revealed plans to make a “substantial” contribution to Clinton’s campaign to help ensure that Trump doesn’t win the White House this fall.
Calling Trump “a dishonest demagogue,” Whitman told The New York Times, “I will vote for Hillary, I will talk to my Republican friends about helping her, and I will donate to her campaign and try to raise money for her.”
Whitman isn’t Clinton’s only surprising campaign contributor. The nation’s top defense contractors, who have a history of donating more to GOP congressional and presidential candidates like Mitt Romney, have abandoned their Republican sensibilities to support Clinton this election season. According to Politico, Clinton is leading Trump by 2-to-1 in campaign contributions from employees working for defense companies like Lockheed Martin and General Dynamics.
“Since Trump locked up the Republican nomination three months ago, employees of 25 of the nation’s largest defense companies have donated $93,000 to Clinton, compared with $46,000 for Trump,” Politico reported after reviewing filings with the Federal Election Commission.
It’s contributors like these – and recent endorsements from a handful of Republicans, as well as former New York Mayor Mike Bloomberg, an independent – that emboldened Clinton’s campaign to launch a coordinated effort to persuade Republicans in Mitt Romney’s circle to donate or raise large sums of money for the Democratic nominee (specifically $10,000, $27,000, $50,000, or $100,000).
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Politico reported Tuesday that Clinton finance director Dennis Cheng wrote a 1,200-word email on Aug. 12 to the former secretary of state’s top fundraisers, detailing how they could convince their wealthy Republican and independent friends to contribute to Clinton’s campaign.
A longtime Clinton fundraiser described one of the pitches to Politico, which begins: “I normally would not be approaching you for money, but I know where your heart is, and what you want to see for your party.”
“Who would have ever thought you could convince Republicans to give money to Hillary Clinton in order to save the soul of the party?”