Johnny Cueto, Brandon Belt, Brandon Crawford, Evan Longoria, Kevin Gausman… Donald Trump?
Officially, the President of the United States, set to take part in the first debate against Democratic nominee Joe Biden tonight, is not the sixth-highest paid player on the San Francisco Giants this year. And officially, Giants owner Charles Johnson has not donated to Trump’s re-election campaign. But over the first eight months of 2020, according to records found through the Center For Responsive Politics’ opensecrets.org portal, Johnson forked over more money to Republican candidates and organizations than he paid to all but five players on the Giants’ roster after 2020 salaries were adjusted for the shortened season.
That would be $1,749,500 to advance Trumpian policy, outpacing the $1,481,481 earned by Drew Smyly, which figures, because clearly Johnson is in no mood to give financial support to a lefty.
It’s not a new thing for Johnson to be giving money to Republicans, as he made waves a couple of years ago with a donation to Black Americans For The President’s Agenda, which then ran a racist ad in an Arkansas congressional race.
The lion’s share of Johnson’s political spending this year, a little more than $1.5 million, has gone to the Republican National Committee, state Republican parties (22 states at $10,000 a pop), the Senate and House campaign arms of the GOP, and PACs such as the Congressional Leadership Fund, a group specializing in attack ads against Democrats, which got a cool half-million bucks from the retired head of Franklin Templeton Investments.
But in addition to Republican causes in general, Johnson has given money to 46 individual Republican office-holders or office-seekers. Apparently that’s what you do if you’re a bored old man with way too much money.
Other owners put money into politics, too, but Johnson’s sheer volume of recorded donations, money spent, and exclusivity with Republicans, is staggering. White Sox owner Jerry Reinsdorf, for instance, has given $57,900 to Republican candidates this year, and $16,600 to Democrats. That’s weird in its own way, as Reinsdorf has given money to politicians ranging from Joni Ernst and David Perdue to Dick Durbin and John Hickenlooper. Reinsdorf also gave $100,000 to a fund called Illinois Democrats for Change, which was established last November, terminated this June, and in its entire existence received… that single $100,000, which federal filings show was used to pay a consulting firm.
Reds owner Bob Castellini is another fairly prolific donor among his peers, with $20,000 in donations to the Republican Party proper and $17,000 to candidates this year. Castellini is supporting incumbent senators Susan Collins (R-Me.) and Martha McSally (R-Ariz.), as well as Republican House candidates Sean Parnell in Pennsylvania and David Young in Iowa.
McSally, Parnell, and Young all will be torn the next time there’s a Reds-Giants game, because the owners of both teams have funded their campaigns. But then, Johnson has lined the pockets of lots more Republican politicians — he’s given individual support to 46 GOP candidates this year.
Who else has been getting Johnson’s money? And what races are they in?
Some of Johnson’s donations appear to be purely out of spite, like the money he gave to Joe Collins (CA-43) and John Cummings (NY-14), running against Maxine Waters and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, respectively, in safely Democratic districts.
Some of Johnson’s candidates, like Don Bolduc (NH-Sen) and Mike LiPetri (NY-2) won’t even be in the general election after losing their primaries.
Then, there are some real weirdos, like Dan Rodimer (NV-3), a former pro wrestler and arena football player who got arrested for fighting at a Waffle House, Kimberly Klacik (MD-7), whose campaign misspelled “Baltimore” in an ad, and incumbent Montana Sen. Steve Daines, who said Trump’s “leadership saved a lot of American lives” amid the pandemic that continues to leave 1,000 Americans a day dead and has killed over 205,000 U.S. citizens.
There are even a couple, Alek Sklaratos (OR-4) and Nancy Mace (SC-1), who come off as somewhat reasonable people outside of their willingness to associate with Trump and a wannabe fascist party in 2020.
In some cases, from Leon Benjamin (VA-4) to Carla Spalding (FL-23) to Wesley Hunt (TX-7), Johnson’s donations appear to be an attempt to show how not-racist he is by supporting Black Republican candidates.
There’s a wide range, but they’re all on the same team and all getting Johnson’s money.
The rest of the 46 might be of particular interest to Giants fans who’d like to repurpose the money they might have put in Johnson’s pockets this year through ticket purchases, or maybe Dodgers fans who want to stick it to their rival.
So, we put together the whole roster: