By Patrick Crowley
Enquirer staff writer
FORT MITCHELL - When Congressional candidate Nick Clooney filed his first quarter fund-raising totals, the list of contributors looked like the invitation list to a glitzy Hollywood party.
Nearly 120 people connected to the film industry gave money to Clooney, the Augusta Democrat whose son George Clooney is an actor and director.
Things have changed, however.
The first time around, actors Paul Newman and Michael Douglas, director Steven Spielberg (a Cincinnati native), and studio moguls Jeffrey Katzenberg of DreamWorks and Miramax Films co-chairman Robert Weinstein were among those who helped Clooney raise about $170,000 for his 4th District campaign against Boone County Republican Geoff Davis.
But in Clooney's latest fund-raising report, the Hollywood crowd all but disappeared.
Only about $10,000 of the $236,112 raised during May and June came from contributors tied to the film industry.
Clooney's campaign made sure to mention that 71 percent of the contributions came from Kentucky residents.
On the first report, nearly half of Clooney's money came fromthe entertainment industry.
But the Davis campaign continues to point out Clooney's ties to Hollywood to raise money.
"Our opponent ... has raised liberal Hollywood money in amounts never before seen in Kentucky," Davis campaign manager Justin Brasell said in announcing the Republican had raised $373,143 over the past two months.
Davis said he "must overcome Hollywood and the money it is dumping" into Clooney's campaign.
"The elites of Hollywood, led by Nick Clooney's movie star and liberal activist son, George Clooney, have been unloading truckloads of money into this race for the sole purpose of defeating me and the conservative values I stand for," Davis said.
"The same Hollywood liberals you see on TV criticizing President Bush and our values on a daily basis are the very same people bound and determined to make sure I never win this pivotal seat," he said.
Yet the Hollywood "elites" were largely missing from Clooney's report.
There were some notable contributions, including money from actress Catherine Zeta Jones ($2,000), actor Warren Beatty ($2,000), entertainment reporter Jules Asner ($2,000) and singer Nancy Sinatra ($1,000).
But some well-known conservatives also showed up on Clooney's report, including Hamilton County Court of Appeals Judge Mark Painter, a Republican considering running for mayor of Cincinnati; and Edyth Lindner of Indian Hill, the wife of businessman and Cincinnati Reds majority owner Carl Lindner.
Carl Lindner has given $2,500 to Davis, who ran unsuccessfully for Congress two years ago, including a $1,000 contribution in March.
Davis has also mined contributions outside of Kentucky. His most recent finance report shows contributors from 12 states other than Kentucky, including Ohio, California, Texas, Wyoming and Virginia.
"Nick Clooney is a fifth-generation Kentuckian," said B.J. Neidhardt, Clooney's campaign manager. "He was born and raised in Kentucky, and he learned his values in Kentucky.
"Geoff Davis should spend less time attacking Nick's son and more time coming up with a positive vision for the future of 4th District," Neidhardt said.
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