Fundraising Numbers Show Hollywood’s Love for Juliette Kayyem

The candidate for Massachusetts governor gets some serious support from the left coast.

Democrat Juliette Kayyem may have the support of just 2 percent of the state’s Democratic voters, but she’s a Hollywood star.

Kayyem’s A-list backers include Modern Family’s mom Julie Bowen, Ted Danson (aka Sam Malone from Cheers), and Two and A Half Men star Amber Tamblyn, according to Kayyem’s filings with the Massachusetts Office of Campaign and Political Finance (OCPF).

The credits behind the scenes are equally impressive: Lionsgate TV studio chief Kevin Beggs; Sean Bailey, president of production at Walt Disney Studios; Katherine Pope, producer of New Girl; Academy Award-nominated director Darren Aronofsky, best known for directing Mickey Rourke in The Wrestler; and Seymour Stein, the big cheese at Los Angeles-based Sire and Warner Bros., who signed nearly every important New Wave band.

In all, Kayyem has raised $371,000 through November 30—$207,000 since Martha Coakley entered the race on September 16, according to the state OCPF. (The campaign, which says its records are more current, reports it has raised $395,000.) She’s also out-raised Coakley, who reports raising $164,902, according to the OCPF. (Treasurer Steve Grossman leads the pack with $432,224.)

Democrats have a long history of hitting up stars like an ATM, but why does everyone in Hollywood love Kayyem? Because she’s one of them.

Kayyem hails from Los Angeles, and her roots have helped her pull $80,o00 from California. Campaign spokesman Matthew Patton said she doesn’t know Danson or Bowen, but “friends, family, college roommates, and people she grew up with”held fundraisers on her behalf. “There are still people [back home] who want to support her in whatever she does,” he said.

Patton bristled at the notion that Kayyem is relying on a reserve of Hollywood good will, noting she’s worked most of her professional life in Massachusetts. But demonstrating she can raise money with the top-tier candidates could be a path forward for the former Patrick homeland security aide as she tries to overcome dismal poll numbers. The most recent poll, released in September, put her well behind Coakley, who leads with 57 percent.

Even though the Kayyem camp is second in fundraising, it’s latching onto an us-verus-the-world attitude that has fueled so many comebacks in sports—and, they hope, politics.

“The Democratic establishment that said Deval Patrick couldn’t win and couldn’t win re-election is the same that is trying to tell Juliette she shouldn’t be in this race,” Patton said. “She’s not listening to Beacon Hill whether she should be in this race. She’s listening to the people of Massachusetts.”

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