As deep-pocketed Democrats on Wall Street celebrate the ouster of President Donald Trump, some are privately showing little appetite for backing the party’s remaining skirmishes in Georgia.
Employees of securities and investment firms poured about $77 million into President-elect Joe Biden’s campaign and the super-PACs supporting him, more than quadruple what they steered toward Trump. But the pair of Democrats facing runoff elections in Georgia against Republican senators David Perdue and Kelly Loeffler on Jan. 5 are unlikely to see such lopsided support — even with control of the chamber at stake.
For Wall Streeters, keeping the Senate in Republican hands means thwarting tax hikes for corporations and capital gains, as well as other policies that don’t align with their financial interests.
“Most Wall Street Democrats and certainly all Wall Street never-Trumpers — Republicans that voted for Biden — want a split government,” said Mike Novogratz, a long-time hedge fund manager and founder of Galaxy Digital.
Novogratz said he’s encountering reluctance to donate to Democrats Jon Ossoff and Raphael Warnock when sending fundraising emails for #winbothseats, an initiative meant to aid community organizers getting out the vote. The investor is a co-founder of the group that also involves Andrew Yang, the tech entrepreneur who ran for president in 2020, and Stacey Abrams, the former Georgia house minority leader and voting-rights activist.
“I got a lot of ‘Thanks, but no thanks,’ or ‘What are you talking about?’ from guys I know voted for Biden,” Novogratz said. He still helped raise more than $2 million within a matter of two weeks for #winbothseats and another organization he’s affiliated with that’s involved in the Georgia runoffs.
The stakes in Georgia are high for the Capitol: If Ossoff ousts Perdue and Warnock beats Loeffler, Democrats would hold 50 seats, positioning Vice President-elect Kamala Harris to cast tie-breaking votes.
A prominent Wall Street Democrat who gave generously to Biden confided he hasn’t yet contributed to the Georgia races. The donor, who asked not to be identified, said he’s skeptical a Democratic sweep would matter much anyway because certain Democrats would block more progressive tax legislation.
Some are also put off by the challenge of flipping two seats, a view already visible as markets price in the likelihood of a Republican majority, according to one Democratic operative who predicts turnout for the party will sag without Biden on the ballot.