Hollywood Reeling From Bitter Election Defeats

Bobby Shriver
AP Images

Bobby Shriver's loss marked the end of a day that saw industry politicos' favorites defeated and Republicans back in control of the U.S. Senate

Tuesday's midterm elections brought defeats for many Hollywood-supported candidates.

The entertainment industry's political losing streak started mid-afternoon on Tuesday, with Alison Lundergan Grimes' defeat by Sen. Mitch McConnell.

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Next, Sen. Kay Hagan lost her expensive battle in North Carolina. She was followed by Michelle Nunn in Georgia, Sen. Mark Pryor in Arkansas, Sen. Mark Udall in Colorado and Sen. Mark Begich in Alaska — all of them recipients of Hollywood cash.

Few had anticipated that Sen. Mark Warner, once a Hollywood pick for president, would be locked in a tight race against GOP challenger Ed Gillespie … or that Sen. Mary Landrieu would be pushed into a runoff election in Louisiana.

As the news started to sink in that the Republicans were back in control of the Senate — and Jeffrey Katzenberg's archnemesis McConnell would be leading the charge — Hollywood politicos turned their attention to Bobby Shriver, the industry pick to replace longtime Los Angeles County supervisor Zev Yaroslavsky, who was forced to retire because of term limits.

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The scion of American political royalty had received thousands of dollars in Hollywood campaign contributions in his effort to represent the Westside of Los Angeles and parts of the San Fernando Valley on the Board of Supervisors.

His campaign finance report read like a list of Oscar attendees. Among the donors: Katzenberg, Steven Spielberg, David Geffen, Oprah Winfrey, Tom Hanks, J.J. Abrams, Oprah Winfrey, Jerry Bruckheimer, Jimmy Iovine, Warren Beatty, Jessica Alba, Chris O'Donnell, Rob Lowe, Larry David, Ted Danson, Joan Cusack, Harvey Keitel and Michael Douglas.

But just before 4 a.m. L.A. time, Shriver was officially defeated by onetime TV star Shiela Kuehl, now a veteran Sacramento lawmaker whose campaign was heavily supported by organized labor. Shriver got just more than 47.2 percent of the vote, compared to his opponent's nearly 52.8 percent. His loss was a sort of coup de grace for Hollywood's political efforts this season.

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Tennis Channel chief Ken Solomon said he and his fellow Hollywood fundraisers realized in recent weeks that their candidates were in trouble. As Barbra Streisand sent out a donation plea to Democratic fundraisers across the country, industry politicos began to prepare themselves for a losing battle.

"It was the worst election map since Eisenhower," Solomon said. "We all put on our body armor and were waiting for this explosion. Now we just need to move forward."

Nov. 5, 3:45 a.m. Updated with final Shriver race figures.

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