Surprise! The 'Republican' Group Supporting an Arizona Democrat Isn't Very Republican

Sen. Mark Kelly's 'Republicans for Kelly' group has deep left-wing ties

Sen. Mark Kelly (D., Ariz.) / Wikimedia Commons
July 27, 2022

A group of 45 self-proclaimed "Republicans" rolled out by Democratic senator Mark Kelly's (Ariz.) reelection campaign to showcase his bipartisan appeal is filled with Democratic donors.

A Washington Free Beacon review of FEC filings dating back to 2016 found that three-quarters of the roughly $300,000 in federal political donations made by "Republicans for Kelly" members went to Democrat-endorsed candidates and Democratic-aligned PACs. Less than a quarter of contributions went to Republicans, with most GOP donations coming from a single couple. The majority of the donations to Republicans were directed to politicians who supported efforts to remove former president Donald Trump from office.

As opinion polling continues to deteriorate for Democrats, candidates running for reelection have increasingly taken to associating their candidates and initiatives with conservative causes. President Joe Biden is deeply unpopular in Arizona, according to available polling, and Kelly will need to appeal to independents and Republicans to win reelection in November.

Kelly this month issued an official press release announcing the formation of "Republicans for Kelly" and listing 45 members. Due to Arizona laws regulating the disclosure of voter information, the Free Beacon could not determine how many of the "Republicans for Kelly" are actually registered Republicans. But many of the group's members have a history of supporting  progressive causes.

At least 10 members of Kelly's group voted for President Joe Biden, per public statements. Four "Republicans For Kelly" serve on the left-wing Lincoln Project's leadership team in Arizona. The Lincoln Project has a history of trying and failing to defeat Republican candidates, often spending millions of dollars in the process.

David Adame, a self-identified Republican who has thrown his lot behind Kelly, operates a nonprofit that provides services for and advocates on behalf of illegal immigrants. Chicanos por la Causa funds scholarships for DACA recipients and sued the federal government to force the Census Bureau to count illegal immigrants in congressional reapportionment. Adame's nonprofit is also spending $10 million to increase Latino voter turnout ahead of the 2022 midterms, a move that could benefit Democrats in what is shaping up to be a close election.

Adame last year came under fire after revealing that Chicanos por la Causa had several Arizona Democratic legislators on its payroll while it actively petitioned the state legislature for COVID-19 relief funds.

Jerry Hirsch, another member of Republicans for Kelly, heads a foundation that funds liberal nonprofits. Hirsch chairs the Lodestar Foundation, which since 2020 has funneled over $1 million to liberal-aligned nonprofits. Among the organizations funded are the Protect Democracy Project, an organization formed in 2016 explicitly to oppose Trump, and Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, part of Democratic operative David Brock's "campaign to oppose Republican officeholders."

Kelly has long touted himself as a champion of Senate bipartisanship in an effort to win voters in Arizona, a swing state. But Kelly votes 96 percent of the time with Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D., N.Y.) and sides 92 percent of the time with socialist Sen. Bernie Sanders (I., Vt.). Kelly supported abolishing the legislative filibuster and federalizing state elections.

The senator during his 2020 campaign also launched an ostensibly Republican group, which had 100 members. It is unclear why he was not able to attract as many supporters this time around.

The Kelly campaign did not respond to the Free Beacon's request for comment.