Political Notebook

Nunes challenger Janz pulls in Rosie O'Donnell, Barbra Streisand and more celebrity donors

Andrew Janz chats with staff at his campaign headquarters Tuesday afternoon, June 5, 2018 in Fresno.
Andrew Janz chats with staff at his campaign headquarters Tuesday afternoon, June 5, 2018 in Fresno. ezamora@fresnobee.com

Rep. Devin Nunes, R-Tulare, may have considerable financial support of agribusiness and the Republican political machine behind him, but Democratic challenger Andrew Janz clearly has Hollywood in his corner.

A review of Janz's individual campaign donations over the past year yielded several high-profile names, including comedian Rosie O'Donnell and singer Barbra Streisand. The numbers are as of May 16. Additional donations will become public next month, when candidates must file second-quarter reports.

O'Donnell gave Janz $2,000 on Christmas Eve and another $1,000 on Dec. 27. The cap on individual donations is $2,700 per election, meaning Janz's campaign had to hold $300 from O'Donnell – an outspoken enemy of President Donald Trump, whom Nunes has close ties to – until after the June 5 primary.

Streisand was part of Janz's final pre-election push, giving him $1,000 on May 14.

Actress and singer Audra McDonald, who went to Roosevelt High in Fresno, gave Janz a total of $300 between Feb. 1 and April 30.

Filmmaker and TV producer James L. Brooks, who created "The Mary Tyler Moore Show" and produces "The Simpsons," gave the campaign $5,400 on May 7. Like O'Donnell, some of his donation could not be used until after the primary.

Rep. Devin Nunes and challenger Andrew Janz in file photos.

Alan Horn, chairman of Walt Disney Studios, gave Janz $2,000 on Feb. 19. Horn's wife, Cindy, also donated $2,000 on the same date.

O'Donnell, Streisand and the Horns are frequent donors to Democratic campaigns.

Actor Mark Hamill of "Star Wars" fame donated $300 on Nov. 28.

Producer and actor John Leguizamo gave Janz a series of small donations which added up to $267.50 as of April 29.

Professional poker player Frank Kassela – a three-time World Series of Poker champion – gave Janz $1,000 on Feb. 2.

The race also appears to have divided the powers that be at Silicon Valley software giant Oracle Corporation.

Nicola Miner, daughter of Oracle founder Bob Miner, gave Janz $2,700 on April 26, 2017. Her husband, novelist Robert Mailer Anderson, also gave Janz $2,700.

However, Oracle Chairman Larry Ellison – the fifth richest man in the country – is a Nunes donor, giving $2,700 on Nov. 29. At least four other high-ranking Oracle employees have also given $2,700 to Nunes.

As of May 16, Janz had raised about $1.8 million, nearly all of which came from individual donations. Nunes raised $4.9 million in that period, with $3.7 million coming from individual donations.

An election update Tuesday night indicated Nunes had 56,201 votes – about 58 percent of the vote, and more than all five of his challengers combined – in the June 5 primary. Janz received 30,645, or about 32 percent.

Rory Appleton: 559-441-6015, @RoryDoesPhonics