Ruben Gallego Making Inroads with Major Donors Who Sent Sinema to the Senate

Over at Puck, which covers the intersection between Silicon Valley and DC politics, among other topics, they dished on the deep inroads Ruben Gallego is making into Kirsten Sinema’s former donor base in Silicon Valley:

“Chuck Schumer has likely been up all night with desert-hued nightmares of the 2024 Arizona Senate race—in particular, how the current murder-suicide pact between Ruben Gallego and Kyrsten Sinema could deliver the seat to the election-denying Kari Lake, essentially a more telegenic Marjorie Taylor Greene. As that showdown looms in the distant-but-not-too-distant future, Gallego has peeled off much of Sinema’s Silicon Valley donor base, the same crew of influential female philanthropists who paved the way for her 2018 election in the name of girl power and turning purple Arizona blue. Critically, Gallego has won over rising mega-donorKarla Jurvetson, who famously gave Elizabeth Warren’s super PAC a $15 million check when her 2020 campaign was low on cash.

Perhaps Sinema doesn’t need the powerful clique that supported her when she was just another House member vying for the Senate. After all, her ability to preserve the carried interest loophole in the Inflation Reduction Act has made her an enduring darling of the $5 trillion private equity industry. She’s also become a heroine for Big Pharma by stalling drug pricing negotiations. Plus, her coffers are already stacked with $8 million on hand. But given her Democrat-to-independent conversion, it’s generally assumed that Sinema will have a hard time raising hard money from individual donors and will have to rely heavily on the support of outside independent expenditures, like super PACs, which are charged more for ads and are more cumbersome to utilize.

Winning over Jurvetson was a coup for Gallego—not just because of her deep pockets, but also on account of her status among the Silicon Valley set as an alpha fundraiser who wealthy women in the Bay Area looked to for guidance. (My Puck partner Teddy Schleifer has a great story about Jurvetson’s growing influence in a story titled The Los Altos Shrink Taking Over Washington.) His story details Jurvetson and Sinema’s falling out over the lawmaker’s refusal to change the filibuster to pass the “For the People” voting rights act. There was also an uncomfortable zoom call with Sinema, in May 2021, when many of her powerful female backers felt that she wasn’t hearing their concerns.

Hell hath no fury like a cohort of mega-donors scorned. Luckily for Gallego, Sinema’s enemies are now throwing him his highest-earning fundraisers. Jurvetson’s name appeared on the invite for a Gallego fundraiser at the home of Beth Axelrod and Erwin Hosono in Palo Alto, last Tuesday, co-hosted by Zak Malamed and the Next 50. The event was also hosted by former Sinema supporter Amy Rao, who advises Wendy Schmidtpolitically, and Fran Codispoti, a longtime female fundraiser in the area that has long backed female candidates. Other prominent co-hosts included Julie Lythcott-Haims and Jennifer DiBrienza.”

Interesting and encouraging that some of the major donors that brought Sinema to the dance are crossing her name off their dance cards and stepping out with our dashing young Marine.

FYI, we now have event video of Gallego at the bottom of our homepage and posted on YouTube. Please check it out if you were unable to attend that event.