Obscure GOP megadonor put $500K into Joe Carr PAC

In an article headlined “The biggest Republican megadonor you’ve never heard of,” Politico reports Richard Uihlein and his wife, Elizabeth, are currently the nation’s biggest donors to GOP causes in the mid-term federal elections at $21 million – including $500,000 to a PAC set up by former Tennessee state Rep. joe Carr.

The $21 million figures doesn’t include millions in donations to state-level races. Politico’s lead is on how he “essentially bankrolled” Jeanne Ives, who barely lost a challenger to Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner in Tuesday’s Republican primary, donating $2.5 million in one week.

It’s the latest example of Uihlein’s burgeoning role as one of the most influential, but still little-known, political donors in the country. His early six- and seven-figure contributions to emerging Republican candidates, and penchant for disruptive politics, have been crucial to building a raft of anti-establishment Republicans seeking to emulate Donald Trump’s formula for success during this year’s midterm elections.

… Uihlein is filling a void created by the demise of Steve Bannon, whose GOP revolution — with Republican megadonor Robert Mercer as his supposed benefactor — was derailed when he became a party pariah. While Mercer and other big donors like Sheldon Adelson have so far been circumspect with their money this year, Uihlein has begun to shape Republicans’ efforts back in the Senate. In addition to donating to tea party groups and the Club for Growth, which Uihlein has supported in the past, he’s given several million dollars to super PACs backing specific candidates in Senate races.

…In Tennessee, Uihlein put $500,000 into a PAC last August with an indeterminate purpose; the PAC’s operator, listed as failed 2014 Senate candidate Joe Carr, did not respond to requests for comment.

Note: Carr’s PAC, called Stand Firm America, held a $447,798 as of the last report available on the FEC’s website, filed in January. It’s biggest reported expenditure ($75,000 out of a total $79,000) was for “political admin consulting” to Avalanche Communications of Seminole, Fla. (Previous post on Carr creating the PAC, HERE.)

Carr lost a surprisingly close race to Lamar Alexander in the 2014 Republican U.S. Senate primary and then was soundly defeated by Diane Black in the 2016 GOP 6th Congressional District primary. Most recently, Carr lost to Shane Reeves – by almost a 2-to-1 margin – in the January Republican primary special election for state Senate District 14. (Previous post HERE.)

While a Politico listing of Uilein’s biggest donations says the candidate ultimately benefiting from the $500,000 to Carr’s PAC is unknown, there might be a hint in a separate filing that shows Elizabeth Uilein, as an individual, has given $2,700 to Marsha Blackburn’s U.S. Senate. Club for Growth, which has received support from the couple as noted by Politico, is actively supporting Blackburn’s campaign.

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