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Monday, October 29, 2012

Donors Make Last-Minute Investments in House Races

A group of wealthy donors from around the country appear to be functioning as a sort of SWAT team on behalf of Democratic and Republican candidates by pouring last-minute contributions into competitive House races. What is notable about these 11th-hour gifts is that they often represent the first time the donors have given to these campaigns.

The hedge fund manager Joseph A. DiMenna Jr. and his wife, Diana, have put at least $40,000 into nine House races since Oct. 17, including the campaigns of Representative Bobby Schilling of Illinois, a conservative freshman facing a tough re-election bid, and Andy Barr, a Kentucky lawyer who is the Republican challenger to an incumbent Democrat, Ben Chandler.

Previously, the DiMennas had given more than $70,000 to the Romney Victory Fund, a committee benefiting Mitt Romney's presidential campaign and Republican Party committees.

David and Susan Duff, who own and operate Pine Bluff Coal in Kentucky, have given at least $30,000 in October to House campaigns in New York, Minnesota, California, Arizona and Florida. Among the six candidates they supported are Ann Marie Buerkle of New York and Chip Cravaack of Minnesota, two other freshman Republicans. Earlier in the election cycle, the Duffs donated $60,000 to American Crossroads, a “super PAC” that supports Mr. Romney and other Republican candidates.

But Democratic supporters are also getting in on the act during the campaign's final days. Gilbert Silverman, a Michigan developer, has given at least $33,000 to 27 Democrats in more than a dozen states stretching from New Hampshire to California. Mary and Steven Swig, a California couple whose business interests include a real estate firm and a lingerie company, sank at least $15,000 this month into seven House campaigns in Ohio, Arizona, Florida, Illinois and California. Among those they supported were Representative Betty Sutton, who is trying to defeat a freshman Republican, James B. Renacci, in Ohio.

Before October, the Swigs and Mr. Silverman were major contributors to the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, with each of the three contributing $30,800.

Candidates for the House and the Senate are required to file reports with the Federal Election Commission during the final 20 days of the campaign detailing contributions of at least $1,000. The full accounting of fund-raising during this period will be available in early December.