Celebrities opening checkbooks for Democratic candidates in midterm elections

Hollywood is pouring money into the midterm elections. A-listers including Leonardo DiCaprio, Gwyneth Paltrow, Julia Louis-Dreyfus and Barbra Streisand are coughing up blockbuster bucks, according to Federal Election Commission data collected and analyzed by The Hill.

The donations are largely aimed at keeping the Senate in Democratic hands. Republicans, who have the political winds at their backs, need to pick up six seats to win control of the upper chamber.

J.J. Abrams, Jack Black, Danny DeVito, Jennifer Garner, Steven Spielberg, Steve Martin, Tom Hanks, Jerry Seinfeld, Mike Myers, Jon Hamm, America Ferrera, Aaron Sorkin, Ben Stiller, Diane Lane, Rainn Wilson, Lily Tomlin, Ron Howard, Tommy Hilfiger, Eva Longoria and Chris Rock are among the celebrities to donate money to Democratic candidates.

"In general, midterm elections do not bring a lot of celebrity donations,” Steven J. Ross, a history professor at the University of Southern California said. The author of the Pulitzer Prize-nominated, “Hollywood Left and Right: How Movie Stars Shaped American Politics,” says midterm elections are considered “less glamorous” to stars. “I think if they give, they want to give in a celebrity context, which means the presidential election."

All this partisan giving could come at a price for celebrities who crave mass appeal at the box office. But veteran Hollywood publicist and author Michael Levine says unless one of his clients is donating to someone “tremendously controversial,” he wouldn’t necessarily advise against it. I think it’s completely dependent on their long term agenda. If their long-term agenda is to be a political, cultural force in America, then making donations is fine. If having access to politicians and leaders is important to them, then I think it’s fine.”

Republican candidates were far less likely to feel the love from Hollywood.  “Charles in Charge’s” Scott Baio, former Denver Broncos quarterback John Elway, the the Broncos’ current quarterback and former University of Tennessee star Peyton Manning and Donald Trump were among those supporting Republican candidates.