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Dems Hit Hollywood for New Money, Even Before Obama's Oath

Al Franken Terry McAuliffe - H 2013
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Al Franken and Terry McAuliffe

Al Franken, Terry McAuliffe and Elizabeth Warren turned to will.i.am and Kenny Loggins for help with cash for the 2014 midterms.

This story first appeared in the Feb. 1 issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine.

In the old days, Hollywood politicos could spend a few months between election cycles getting over their fundraising fatigue. But that was before the arrival of the super PACs.

And so, even before the entertainment industry's Democratic faithful descended on Washington for Barack Obama's inauguration Jan. 21, Minnesota Sen. Al Franken and Virginia gubernatorial hopeful -- and former Democratic National Committee chair -- Terry McAuliffe got a jump-start on raising cash for their 2014 campaigns. On Jan. 19 at the Hamilton Hotel, the Democratic Governors Association sponsored a fundraiser for McAuliffe's campaign that featured a DJ set by will.i.am.

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On Jan. 20, Franken teamed up with newly elected Sen. Elizabeth Warren from Massachusetts to hold a fundraising brunch at the Willard Hotel with Kenny Loggins, Georgia Middleman and Gary Burr of the Blue Sky Riders. "Time to buckle up," potential donors were told in an invite to the event. People in "first gear" could attend for $1,000. Those in "overdrive" were asked to give or raise $25,000 for Franken's re-election (remember, the former Saturday Night Live funnyman squeezed out the narrowest of victories in 2008).

Back in Los Angeles, producers Bruce Roberts and Eric Ortner -- who spent more than a year wrangling talent for Obama's fundraisers -- are co-hosting a gathering Jan. 31 in support of New York Rep. Steve Israel, chairman of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee.

Says Hollywood political consultant Margery Tabankin: "The 2014 campaign season has started. There's no question about it."