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GOP megadonor Peter Thiel to host fundraiser for Arizona Senate candidate Blake Masters


Peter Thiel, president and founding father of Clarium Capital Management LLC, speaks throughout the Bitcoin 2022 conference in Miami, Florida, on Thursday, April 7, 2022.

Eva Marie Uzcategui | Bloomberg | Getty Images

Republican megadonor Peter Thiel is hosting a fundraiser at his Los Angeles home next week for Arizona Senate candidate Blake Masters after GOP officials asked the tech mogul for more cash heading into the ultimate stretch of the November midterm elections.

The invite lists Thiel because the host for the Masters campaign event and says the gathering is about to happen on Sept. 30 at his $5 million home in Southern California. Tickets for the event go from $1,500 per person to $11,600 per couple and include a number and VIP reception, followed by a general reception, depending on the ticket, in line with the invite.

Other co-hosts of the event include several of Thiel’s allies, including Keri Findley, CEO of investment firm Tacora Capital, whose fund was once backed by Thiel, in addition to longtime hedge fund manager Michael Wang, whose social media investing platform was reportedly supported by Thiel. Erik Finman, a Thiel associate who became a bitcoin millionaire by the point he was 18, can also be listed as a co-host.

The move by Thiel to host Masters comes as donations from the tech mogul to separate super PACs supporting Masters and Ohio Senate candidate J.D. Vance appear to have dried up with just below 50 days until the November elections. Thiel gave $15 million apiece spread across multiple donations to Protect Ohio Values, an excellent PAC backing Vance, and to Saving Arizona, an out of doors group supporting Masters, throughout the primary races, in line with Federal Election Commission filings.

His last donation to the PAC backing Vance was in April, while he last gave to Saving Arizona in July. He has yet to present them any money for the overall election that can pit the candidates against Democrats in competitive Senate races, in line with FEC records.

A Real Clear Politics poll shows Vance leading over House Rep. Tim Ryan by just over 2 points within the bid for retiring Sen. Rob Portman’s GOP seat. Masters, meanwhile, is behind incumbent Sen. Mark Kelly, D-Ariz., by almost 3 points. Masters and Vance have been endorsed by former President Donald Trump. Either race could determine control of the U.S. Senate with Democrats holding 50 seats and Vice President Kamala Harris breaking any tie votes.

Masters’ campaign, which has raised just $4.9 million, needs more cash to fight Kelly, who’s outraised him by greater than tenfold with $54 million in donations.

Republican leaders and campaign officials, including Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., have reportedly asked Thiel to assist Vance and Masters in the overall election. The Washington Post reported that Thiel initially rebuffed McConnell’s requests.

“Not now,” has been the response from Thiel and his team in recent weeks when asked for more donations for Vance or Masters, in line with an individual briefed on the matter

Thiel, nonetheless, was a featured guest at a recent fundraiser for Masters on the Florida home of Keith Rabois, a general partner within the enterprise capital firm Founders Fund, which was co-founded by Thiel. Businessman Tom Sauer, who tweeted out a photograph of Thiel speaking on the Rabois fundraiser, can also be listed as a co-host for the fundraiser at Thiel’s home.

Those that spoke to CNBC about Thiel’s maneuvers did so on the condition of anonymity with a purpose to speak freely about private conversations.

Vance and Masters each worked with Thiel before they launched their Senate campaigns. Vance once worked at investment firm Mithril Capital, which was co-founded by Thiel, while Masters was chief operating officer at Thiel Capital.

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A few of Thiel’s associates, who asked to not be named to talk freely about his fundraising strategy, say he’s been frustrated with what he previously saw as a scarcity of cash from other groups, including the Senate Leadership Fund, an excellent PAC tied to McConnell. Thiel didn’t want to take a position too heavily within the races if GOP leaders weren’t willing to commit their very own money to bolster the party’s probabilities of taking back the Senate, they said.

“It is a game of chicken between McConnell and Thiel,” an ally of the tech billionaire told CNBC.

Thiel has publicly hinted he doesn’t entirely support the Republican Party’s messaging during this election. “My scoring on the ’22 cycle is we’re doing even less well than ’94 with Contract with America, we’re doing less well than 2010” when the conservative tea party rose to power, Thiel told the National Conservatism Conference earlier this month.

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