Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., called billionaire investor Peter Thiel after J.D. Vance had won the Republican primary for Senate in Ohio and asked Thiel to continue to finance Vance's campaign through the general election, according to The Washington Post.
But Thiel, already responsible for pouring $15 million into a super PAC supporting Vance, demurred, the newspaper said.
Thiel, a longtime supporter of former President Donald Trump, was the co-founder of PayPal and an early Facebook investor.
McConnell noted that his own resources were limited, according to the Post.
When Blake Masters, a GOP candidate Thiel had also financially backed for $15 million, won his Aug. 2 primary in Arizona, McConnell did not call Thiel.
Instead, the Senate Leadership Fund, a super PAC linked to McConnell, ditched about $8 million worth of advertising, which had originally been booked to bolster Masters' campaign.
The move was preceded by phone calls from Thiel to McConnell and Steven Law, who oversees the Senate Leadership Fund.
Details of the calls show McConnell's sometimes troubled relationship with candidates pushed by Trump and donors like Thiel.
McConnell and Law suggested splitting the costs. One option discussed was for the Thiel-funded super PAC to pick up the costs of the advertising reservations originally made by the McConnell-linked PAC, the Post reported.
McConnell informed Thiel that the race in Ohio was more costly for the Senate Leadership Fund than expected, and that the billionaire needed to "come in, in a big way in Arizona," according to the report.
Vance and Masters are friends and former business associates of Thiel, the Post said. But Thiel indicated to McConnell and Law that he was not interested in the suggested arrangements, according to the Post.
In 2021, Thiel donated to a range of pro-Trump candidates. Some Republicans hoped he was putting himself in a position to become a megadonor, the Post said.
But Thiel has told colleagues that he now has no plans to spend more this election cycle. He has said his motive was to push younger Republican candidates.
A spokesman for the Senate Leadership Fund and a McConnell adviser declined comment on the Post story. A spokesman for Thiel also declined to comment.
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