Mellon heir defied the odds in 2012 elections

By Laurie Bennett

December 10, 2012 at 11:37am

Superstitious Republicans might want to return campaign donations unopened from banking heir Timothy Mellon.

A review of Mellon’s contributions in the 2012 elections shows that he supported three unsuccessful candidates for president and 10 unsuccessful candidates for Congress.

Mellon did make one winning bet. He sent $2,500 to the congressional campaign of Paul Ryan, who was returned to his House seat by losing the vice presidential election.

Mellon gave money to Newt Gingrich and Herman Cain before shifting his support to the Republican nominee, Mitt Romney. Here are the House and Senate candidates he supported, according to Federal Election Commission filings:

  • Rep. Todd Akin (R-MO), whose Senate race received a death blow in August when he discussed “legitimate rape.” Mellon’s donation of $2,500 was received a month after Akin’s comments.
  • Richard Mourdock, who defeated incumbent Sen. Dick Lugar in the Republican primary but lost the general election to Democratic Rep. Joe Donnelly. Like Akin, Mourdock did himself in by commenting on rape. “I think even if life begins in that horrible situation of rape, that it is something that God intended to happen,” he said in an October debate. This time, Mellon’s donation of $2,500 was made before the comments.
  • Rep. Allen West, a Tea Party favorite who spent more than $18 million, more than four times the amount spent by opponent Patrick Murphy, and lost anyway. West’s defeat followed a string of controversial statements, including his assertion that President Barack Obama wanted Americans “to be his slave.”
  • Former Rep. Pete Hoekstra, who lost his Senate bid to incumbent Sen. Debbie Stabenow (D-MI).
  • Josh Mandel, the unsuccessful Republican challenger to Democratic incumbent Sen. Sherrod Brown of Ohio.
  • Connie Mack of Florida, who lost his bid for the Senate to Democratic Sen. Bill Nelson.
  • George Allen of Virginia, who lost his Senate bid to former Gov. Tim Kaine.
  • Denny Rehberg of Montana, who lost his Senate bid to incumbent Democrat Jon Tester.
  • Linda McMahon of Connecticut, the former wrestling executive who spent more than $42 million of her own money, only to lose the Connecticut Senate race to Democratic Rep. Chris Murphy.
  • Republican Sen. Scott Brown, who lost to Democrat Elizabeth Warren, scourge of Wall Street. (Mellon’s grandfather, banker-industrialist Andrew W. Mellon, would have been proud.)

Although he generally keeps a low profile, Mellon made national headlines in 2010 when he gave $1.5 million to a legal defense fund established by Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer. The fund was set up to defend the state law cracking down on illegal immigration.

Arguments over the law’s constitutionality went all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court, which ruled in June. The court upheld one provision, calling for immigration status checks by law enforcement, but struck down other parts of the legislation.

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  • #1.   Robert Cogan 02.21.2013

    I’m new to this site, having learned of it as I watched (Astro) turf Wars. I find this material useful. Keep up the good work. I’m delighted to see this info about Mellon’s contributions.

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