In a potentially game-changing boost to the U.S. Senate prospects of the only Greek-American candidate in the country competing for the U.S. Senate, Politico reported on Thursday that U.S. Senator Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV) and former Republican National Committee chairs Ed Gillespie and Ken Mehlman will host a fundraiser, on September 28, 2015, at the National Republican Senatorial Campaign Committee (NRSC) for the campaign. The Kefalas campaigned confirmed the news to The Pappas Post.
“You get a sense that we’re part of something transformational, a campaign that unites the party and the state for a different direction in Washington for Maryland,” said Lauren Stenzel, finance director for Kefalas for Maryland, Inc. “We are honored and overwhelmed by the level and breadth of growing support from Marylanders—of all political parties—and people who know winning campaigns. They’re seeing what I see, that Chrys is fighting incredibly hard to put Maryland first.”
Newly elected Sen. Capito was the first woman elected to the U.S. Senate in the history of West Virginia. The former counselor to President George W. Bush, Gillespie lost by the slimmest of margins, by just 0.8%, to Sen. Mark Warner (D-VA), in a race many political observers believe he would have won had the NRSC put more resources behind his upset campaign. And Mehlman managed Bush’s 2004 re-election campaign. He’s more recently known for his work to advance marriage freedom in the United States.
Earlier this summer the Kefalas campaign filed its first Federal Election Commission filing, showing major financial support from national and Maryland heavyweights. Billionaire businessman John Catsimatides and former Maryland Secretary of Business and Economic Development Aris Melissaratos were among Kefalas’s highest profile supporters.
Others included Boston Beer founder Jim Koch, the campaign manager for Maryland Governor Robert L. Ehrlich, Jr’s successful upset victory in 2012 James DiPaula and Winthrop Realty Trust Chairman and CEO Michael Ashner, who bundled $500,000 for Sen. John McCain’s 2008 presidential campaign.
Kefalas faces a primary against a former defense department official and senate aide, Richard Douglas, who lost his race for the Maryland GOP Senate nomination to Dan Bongino in 2012. No political observers, who’ve studied the race in Maryland, have suggested Douglas is electable statewide.
Should Kefalas win the Republican nomination, he would face either Congressman Chris Van Hollen (D-MD) or Congresswomen Donna Edwards (D-MD), or potential Congressman Elijah Cummings who is reportedly exploring a senate run of his own.
Kefalas’s election would represent a historic first in the country and for Maryland, the election of the first openly gay candidate statewide in Maryland and the first openly gay Republican to Congress, and he would be the only U.S. Senator of Greek descent.